As Trustees Week 2016 continues, SCVO caught up with Theresa Shearer, chair of the recent review into fundraising in Scotland and Chief Executive Officer of Enable Scotland, to get the lowdown on what trustees need to know when it comes to fundraising.
It is widely accepted that trustees need to look beyond the numbers to have full oversight of the fundraising done by their organisation. Can you offer any tips on how they should do this?
Good governance is key to good fundraising practice; and a critical part of this is strategy.
A clear and robust fundraising strategy, of which the trustees have visibility, will set out an organisation’s fundraising objectives and primary methods of fundraising.
This is then something on which the trustees should receive regular updates at board meetings, letting them know what is working well and how it is achieved.
It also allows trustees the opportunity to ask questions and gain more information and insight into how the organisation raises money.
What do you think of suggestions that charity trustees should be paid in order to improve governance in the sector?
Trustee remuneration is an interesting point.
Third sector organisations in particular benefit hugely from the knowledge and expertise of trustees who give up their time to volunteer on boards.
But instilling and following good governance is a fundamental part of the role of a trustee, and should not attract remuneration.
I am conscious that while large private sector organisations pay trustees; trustees in the third sector subscribe to the ethos and values of the sector in volunteering their time and skills.
It goes without saying that trustees should not be out of pocket, and that there may be occasions on which payment is appropriate.
What has changed about a trustee’s responsibilities in light of the review into fundraising regulation in Scotland?
This may be a contentious response, but I would say nothing!
As I said before, a fundamental part of a trustee’s role is to do with governance.
Having a grasp of how the organisation raises funds, and the mechanisms for doing so, falls within the remit of good governance.
But for organisations that fundraise differently, this oversight and involvement will be new to trustees; in that case, it may seem like an initial influx of new information.
If someone has a complaint about a cross border charity (UK-wide) fundraising in Scotland, who should they contact?
The Fundraising Regulator for England and Wales launched on 7 July 2016.
It sets and maintains fundraising standards for all in England and Wales; this also means it regulates fundraising practice of charities registered in England and Wales.
If someone wishes to complain about a charity which is registered in England and Wales, and is fundraising in Scotland, they should contact the fundraising regulator.
Where can trustees go for more help and advice on how to handle fundraising complaints?
Trustees and organisations can contact the Scottish charity fundraising complaints hub, run by SCVO.
Helpline: 0808 1642520