Charities that receive donations from people living outside their areas of operation must let donors know if there are other organisations with similar missions in their area, according to the Institute of Fundraising's new best practice guide on cross-border fundraising.
The guide, published today, is a response to concerns from some Scottish charities about English charities that fundraise in Scotland even though they don't operate north of the border. Last year the Scottish SPCA ran a poster campaign alerting Scots to the fact that the RSPCA does not operate in Scotland (Third Sector, 22 August 2007, page 5). "Many Scots don't understand that we are entirely separate from the RSPCA, which adds to the confusion by continuing to advertise in Scotland," said Mike Flynn, chief superintendent of the Scottish SPCA. "The fact they care only for animals in England and Wales is only ever in the small print. This leads to many donations going south of the border."
Michelle Feenie, marketing manager of the SSPCA, said: "It is vital that we not only continue to raise the SSPCA's profile, but that we also do so in a context that makes it clear that the society is Scotland's national animal welfare charity."
Feenie said that an argument could be made for stopping English and Welsh charities from fundraising in Scotland, but the most important thing was to ensure that any advertising informed the public about where charities operate.
The guide says:
Donors must know where their money will be spent
Charities must be sensitive to donor's expectations of where their money will be spent
Charities receiving donations from donors residing outside their areas of operation must make them aware of services offered by any sister organisations offering equivalent services there
All parties should be involved in joint working from the earliest stages and throughout the process
The institute's code of practice on accountability and transparency must be followed
Any agreements or protocols between sister organisations must be endorsed by all high-level stakeholders, particularly chief executives and trustees
Information and publicity materials must make clear the agreement between cross-border charities.