CEO of the Fundraising Regulator Gerald Oppenheim responds to the charge it is a toothless regulator that doesn’t care.

The Fundraising Regulator’s role is not to ‘defend the public’, as asserted in Christy Romer’s critique of how we handled artist Rab Harling’s complaint against Bow Arts Trust (AP, 21 June 2018). We serve the interests of donors and encourage best practice in fundraising, so that it is undertaken in a clear, ethical and transparent manner. As part of this, we ensure that complaints about fundraising are dealt with fairly.

It is wrong to assume that our funding model lessens our independence. Of the complaints we investigated in 2017/18, 81% were upheld in the complainant’s favour. 

It is true that our financial model is reliant on voluntary payments by charities, a recommendation made by an independent review of fundraising in 2015. This review concluded that the financial burden for regulation should fall on fundraising organisations and not the taxpayer. The Government has made clear that statutory regulation will follow if charities do not support the voluntary model.

Our funding model is working well. Now in its second year, over 1,600 charities have paid the levy. A further 1,400 charities, who are smaller and not expected to pay the levy, have registered with us and paid the small annual administrative fee. We also have a growing number of registrations from third parties that fundraise on behalf of charities.

Gerald Oppenheim
CEO, The Fundraising Regulator