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Fundraising remains one of the principal ways in which the public are made aware of a charity's existence and its aims and objectives. As it may be so influential in defining the public's perception of the charity, there is guidance available as to the methods that should be used and the relationship that may exist between the charity and any fundraising agent.
Fundraising itself is not a charitable activity and trustees must take account of the risks involved in any fundraising event as they would with any trading activity.
Perhaps more importantly fundraising for many charities is also a (if not the) major source of income. Statutory provisions apply to many fundraising events, for example a local authority or police licence may be required for street or house-to-house collections or for carnivals or street parties where there may be some disruption or hindrance to traffic.
It is important, where a charity uses an agent to act on its behalf, that terms of responsibility are agreed, not least to govern matters relating to the costs that may be incurred. Whether the charity has a relationship with a professional fundraiser or with commercial participators and sponsors, there are issues relating to the protection of the charity's reputation, including the use of its name. There may also be tax issues.
A one-off fundraising event, for example a disaster appeal or monument fund, can give rise to particular problems. For example what should be done where monies raised on appeal are either insufficient or where there may be additional funds left over? Can the need to return unused monies to identifiable donors be avoided?