Top ten questions for charitable trustees


Charity fundraising has been under a great deal of scrutiny in recent times, particularly in the light of the high-profile case of Olive Cooke – an elderly lady who committed suicide after receiving countless letters and phone calls from people representing charitable organisations.

Talking to the Bristol Post before her death, the 92-year-old had been quoted as saying that she ‘couldn’t say no’ and felt ‘overwhelmed’ by the volume of requests.

News stories about the collapse of controversial charity Kids Company have also raised questions about good governance within the voluntary sector.

It’s against this backdrop that the Institute of Fundraising published new guidelines in the autumn of 2016 and posed 10 questions that Trustees of charities should be able to answer:

1 What are your responsibilities when it comes to fundraising?

2 Are you happy that your charity is compliant with all fundraising standards and legislation?

3 Do you monitor how many fundraising complaints have been received?

4 Is your charity transparent and accountable in its approach to fundraising?

5 How is your charity’s fundraising approach sustainable?

6 What is your charity’s fundraising strategy?

7 Do you have robust processes in place to ensure you have appropriate fundraising policies, systems, culture and control mechanisms?

8 Which fundraising methods do you use?

9 Who delivers your fundraising: staff, volunteers, third parties? Are you confident that they are doing so legally, and to the highest standards?

10 Are you confident your fundraising expenditure is being used as effectively as possible to achieve short and long-term objectives?

If you want to read more about their guidance, it’s possible to download the report free of charge at