How to give safely to charities

13th March 2019

When you are giving to charities, make sure you are giving to the right causes.

The British Public are very generous when giving to a good cause, although with the generosity of up to £75 billion being given each year this poses an attractive market for criminals.

The Charity Commission have released guidance to help you make more informed decisions when giving to a good cause.

By making simple checks part of the routine of donating, such as checking the charity register, we can all become smarter and more conscious donors, and help promote public trust in the sector as a whole.

Key advice for safer giving

  • check the charity’s name and registration number Most charities with an annual income of £5,000 or more must be registered
  • make sure the charity is genuine before giving any financial information
  • be careful when responding to emails or clicking on links within them
  • check whether street collectors are wearing a proper ID badge and that any collection tin is sealed and undamaged
  • ask the collector for more information if in doubt
    contact the charity that you’re seeking to donate to or work with to find out more about their spending
  • carefully review collection bags for clothing and household goods to check whether they are from a genuine charity
    check whether fundraising materials are genuine. They should feature the charity’s name, registered name and a landline contact number
  • never feel under pressure by a fundraiser into making a donation immediately
  • use the same level of caution every time you support or donate to a charity

Reporting suspicious activity

After making these checks, if you think that a collection or appeal is not legitimate, report it to the police. You can also complain about a charity to us and the fundraising regulator.

If you think a collection is fraudulent report it to Action Fraud through their website or call them on 0300 123 2040.

If you think a collector does not have a licence – report it to the relevant Local Authority Licensing Team or the Metropolitan Police (if in Greater London). Also let the charity and Action Fraud know if you can.