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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Regulators urge public to take care when donating to charity 


Research found £2.7million lost to fraudsters in England and Wales last year. 

The Fundraising Regulator, Charity Commission for England and Wales and Action Fraud have joined forces to encourage people to give safely this winter.

To mark Giving Tuesday, an international day of increased generosity, the Fundraising Regulator, Charity Commission for England and Wales (CCEW) and Action Fraud have launched their annual safer giving campaign to remind people how to give safely to charities.

The campaign launch comes as new data from Action Fraud reveals fraudsters diverted more than £2.7million from charities in the last year. 

The data also revealed there were 501 charity fraud crime reports between November 1, 2022 and October 31, 2023.  

The regulators stress that most charity fundraising is genuine. However, fraudsters and criminals sometimes take advantage of public generosity at times of increased giving, using methods such as fake appeal websites, email appeals that falsely use the name of genuine charities, or appeals from fake charities.

Helping to ensure donations reach their intended cause remains vital as the cost-of-living crisis continues to have a significant impact. 

According to recent research from the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, nearly one in five charities are at risk of stopping operations this winter, mostly due to lower incomes, higher costs and increased demand. 

Upon launching the campaign, which spans the festive period, the regulators highlighted that following safer giving steps should empower people to feel reassured as they donate to genuine good causes, and not feel disheartened by the data.

Gerald Oppenheim, CEO of the Fundraising Regulator, said:“The festive period is always marked by increased charitable giving by the British public, who are always exceedingly generous when donating to charities.

“While fraudsters continue to be creative, a few simple checks will increase the chances your donation will go to a legitimate cause. I encourage you to share this message with family and friends, particularly those who are elderly or vulnerable.

“Charities perform essential work in the UK and globally all year round, against a difficult economic backdrop, so we want to make sure that members of the public are taking appropriate measures to ensure their hard-earned money reaches the causes they care about.”

The campaign comes ahead of the festive season, during which appeals for charitable donations increase and the British public is more likely to give than during the rest of the year. 

A recent study by the Charitable Aid Foundation put the UK third in world rankings of giving, with 71 percent of people regularly donating money to charitable causes.

Dr Helen Stephenson CBE , chief executive of the Charity Commission, said: “The incredible generosity we see from the British public stretches even further during the festive period. We want to encourage and support this incredible good will.

“Make it tougher for fraudsters by following a few quick and simple checks, such as looking up a charity on our register, before donating to a cause you care about. More than ever, it is vital every penny reaches the sector.”

In light of Action Fraud’s data, the regulators are also reminding charities to protect themselves against fraud this Charity Fraud Awareness Week.

Pauline Smith, head of Action Fraud, said: “All year-round, charities across the country work tirelessly to help those greatest in need. Some fraudsters may take advantage of our generosity, they may claim to be raising money for a fake organisation or impersonate a well-known charity. This can block legitimate donations, but also impact the good work of the charity.

“Most fundraising appeals are genuine, so the risk of fraud should not put you off giving to charities. Instead, follow a few simple steps to ensure your donations don’t end up in the wrong hands. Make sure you do thorough research before donating, to be confident that you are giving safely to legitimate organisations.”



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