The Fundraising Regulator has recently published its latest Annual Complaints Report which covers the period 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022. The report analyses complaints received by the Fundraising Regulator and complaints reported to 56 of the UK’s largest fundraising charities.
Data reported by the sample of charities that we surveyed shows that most have returned to in-person fundraising methods, such as door-to-door and in-person collections, after this activity was restricted throughout the pandemic. However, the volume of in-person fundraising activity generally remains below pre-pandemic levels, suggesting the sector may still be navigating the impact of this period.
The number of complaints to the sample charities rose proportionally for most methods in line with increased fundraising activity – with 13 of the 23 fundraising methods having increased complaint numbers in 2021/22 compared to 2020/21. However, the overall number of complaints had decreased since 2019/20 which is reflective of changes in fundraising activity and public mood during the pandemic, as well as demonstrating the sector’s commitment to high standards of fundraising.
Over the same period, complaints about fundraising methods including charity bags (77), digital (74), collections and addressed mail (both 48) accounted for the majority of the 381 complaints within the Fundraising Regulator’s scope. Vulnerability was also a theme threaded into many of the complaints we received. We encourage charities to develop policies to guide how fundraisers interact with people in vulnerable circumstances and keep up to date records about donors who may be vulnerable.
Jenny Williams, Chair of our Complaints and Investigations Committee, said:
“The overall decrease in complaints made to charities since 2019/20, the most recent pre-pandemic year, is encouraging and a testament to the commitment that charitable fundraising organisations have to improving practices.”
“We will continue to work closely with charities to support them in the areas of concern identified in the report and to ensure they are properly equipped with the tools to fundraise appropriately.”