Meet our Expert

Alistair_McLeanAlistair McLean – Chief Executive, Fundraising Standards Board

Alistair has been the Chief Executive of the FRSB since 2009 and in that time has overseen strong growth in membership and awareness of the FRSB brand. Prior to joining the FRSB, he was CEO of the NGRC, which was the self regulatory arm of Greyhound Racing in Britain. In these roles, he has dealt with large and diverse stakeholder groups including government and welfare organisations.


“General advice from the Fundraising Standards Board”


The answer

1.  We have secured a great sponsorship deal with a company. What do I need to include in a solicitation statement?

The solicitation statement needs to be clear and easy to locate on the jam jars. It will need to give details about how much is going to the charity and how much is going to the company. Something along the lines of the following would be fine:

“<<Name of company>> is pleased to announce that it will donate 10% of the price paid for this jar jam to <<Charity name>>. It is hoped that this campaign will raise <<x amount>> for <<Charity Name’s>> vital work. For further information, please visit <<charity/company website>>.

2.  A donor has complained that they don’t like us using face-to-face/doorstep/telephone fundraising. How should we respond?

It’s important to be empathetic whilst at the same time being open and honest about your fundraising. Express regret that the donor doesn’t approve but explain why your charity uses that approach; outline the benefits in a concise way but always make it clear that the donor’s feedback has been taken seriously; after all, a complaint is essentially free market research!

3.  We are doing our first charity fundraising campaign. What do I need to check?

The Institute of Fundraising Codes of Practice; they offer an extensive resource of both legal requirements and best practice guidance for every method and aspect of fundraising. Please visit The Institute of Fundraising for further advice and support. Good luck!

4.  Do you have any advice on how to best handle a difficult complaint?

Sure; here are the most important things to remember:

a)  Start with the view that the person complaining has a valid point, not that he/she is just being difficult. Put yourself in their shoes!

b)  Thank the complainant for contacting you; they have given up their time to let you know they have a concern instead of simply ignoring the problem.

c)  Apologise; this is not an admission of guilt, it’s just good manners! In many cases, a prompt apology can stop an issue from escalating.

d)  Get all the facts; let the person complaining give you all the info so that you can fully understand the situation. This can also help to calm them down if they’re emotional. And make sure you understand what outcome the complainant wants.

e)  Focus on the outcome; make sure that communications about the outcome of your investigation focus on the outcome for the person rather than the process of your investigation.

For further advice on how to handle a difficult complaint, call the Fundraising Standards Board on 020 7655 4694 or email; they are always happy to help.

5.  What does the FRSB do?

The FRSB is responsible for the self-regulation of all charity fundraising in Britain. It was set up by the charity sector in 2007 and currently has over 1400 members who account for approximately 50% of all voluntary income raised in the UK.

Fundamentally, the FRSB exists to help the charity sector to maintain and build public confidence in fundraising.

6.  Why should my charity join the FRSB?

By becoming a member, your charity can communicate its dedication to be honest,  open and accountable in all of its fundraising.

FRSB membership will set your charity apart as an organisation that is committed to best practice.

The FRSB provides its members with a range of benefits, including:

·  Access to the “give with confidence” logo and Fundraising Promise

·  In depth, detailed and personal complaint handling support

·  Access to an extensive collection of membership resources on complaint handling,

·  Training in complaint handling and strategic fundraising training.

·  Access to the latest developments in fundraising best practice

·  Building public confidence in the charity and charitable giving

In a recent consumer survey carried out by TNS (TNS Survey, February 2012, 1062 UK adults aged 16-64) 71% of the public said they would trust an charity more if it was a member of the FRSB and 62% would give more.

For more info about how to become a member of the FRSB, please contact them by calling 020 7655 4694 or emailing

7.  What is charity self regulation?

Charities and voluntary organisations across the UK have been given the opportunity to self-regulate their fundraising activity; the key aim of self-regulation is to ensure that the public have confidence in giving to charity. The way in which this is done is through the Fundraising Standards Board (FRSB).