A new report from the Fundraising Regulator has found that online fundraising has received more complaints than any other method of fundraising during the Covid pandemic. Online fundraising includes social media, charity websites, and banner ads.

The report sampled 56 of the UK’s largest charities and found that from April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021, they reported 5,836 complaints about online fundraising, which is a 252% increase over time. compared to the previous year.

This is the first time in four years that online fundraising has been the method most criticized by charities.

However, despite the increase, the total number of complaints reported by charities fell by four percent from the previous year and the report found that only one in 1,886,192 online impressions received a complaint.

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The increase in complaints about online and digital fundraising matches the evolution of charitable fundraising activities during the pandemic.

When restrictions on in-person contact were put in place, many charities increased their use of online fundraising while public fundraising methods, such as events, fundraising in the street and door to door, have been suspended.

Over the next year, the Fundraising Regulator will focus on helping the industry achieve good fundraising standards in this area and understand the risks this method can involve.

This includes a review of the Code of Fundraising Practice in 2022, which will determine whether the existing standards in the code relating to digital fundraising are sufficient to support the sector, or whether changes are needed.

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Fundraising Regulator CEO Gerald Oppenheim said: “The annual complaints report provides us with very important insight into how the fundraising landscape has changed over the past year. past year.

“This report is an early indicator of the impact of the pandemic on the charitable sector and is an essential tool to help us understand where the sector needs to improve its fundraising practices.

“It is encouraging to see that the overall number of complaints about charitable fundraising continued to decline during the pandemic, showing that good fundraising practices have prevailed at a time of unprecedented challenges for the area.

“We will continue to work closely with charities to support them in some of the areas identified by the report – particularly in relation to online fundraising – and to ensure that charities and the public have the tools needed to fundraise and donate safely. “


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