Tracey is encouraging people to use the new mobile version of the Charity Commission website, making it easy for people to check charities’ details on their phone before making a donation.
The Charity Commission, the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales, has launched the site, http://m.charitycommission.gov.uk, specifically designed for use on mobile phones. It means that when people are out and about they can immediately check if an organisation asking for donations is a registered charity.
Lots of charities fundraise over Christmas, and almost all charity collections are genuine. However, there are some people who will try to abuse the generosity of others for their own gain. The mobile site, which holds the register of over 180,000 charities, will help to give members of the public confidence that the money they donate will reach its intended destination.
As well as showing whether a charity is registered with the Charity Commission, the site includes details of what individual charities do and where they work. It also shows contact details for registered charities, so if you are still unsure whether a collection is genuine you can contact the charity directly to find out.
The site is also useful for charity trustees, providing helpful summaries of our guidance on issues including fundraising and trading.
Tracey says: “Many charities launch their last fundraising appeals of the year over the festive period; however, there are groups who try to take advantage of the public’s generosity to collect for their own personal gain. The Charity Commission’s mobile website is a quick and easy way to ensure that organisations seeking donations are genuine, registered charities. I would like to advise residents to give with care when donating this Christmas to ensure that their money reaches its intended target.”
Dame Suzi Leather, Chair of the Charity Commission says: “Many charities appeal for funds over the festive period and they currently need the public’s donations more than ever. But give smartly; make sure your money is going to a genuine registered charity. The Charity Commission new mobile site will help you quickly check that the charity asking for your money is a proper registered charity. The site also provides useful information about individual charities so you can see what a charity will do with your money.”
“In addition to double-checking details of street charity collections, I would also encourage people making donations to watch out for email scams and fake websites. If you are suspicious of any appeals for donations, always check the charity registration number on the Charity Commission site or contact the charity directly.”
Bryn Parry, CEO and Co-founder of Help for Heroes says: “This is a fantastic initiative that will certainly reassure supporters that their hard-earned money is going exactly where it should. During the Christmas period it is so important to remember those that are going through a tough time, and anything that makes charitable giving a safer, more straightforward process is welcomed by Help for Heroes.”
Follow the Charity Commission’s tips to avoid charity scams this Christmas:
- If you are in any doubt about a charity collector, collection bag or fundraising materials, check the charity’s name and registration number. You can find these on the Charity Commission’s website at www.charitycommission.gov.uk, or on the mobile version of the site http://m.charitycommission.gov.uk which makes it really easy to check this on your phone when you’re on the move.
- Always check whether a collector is wearing a proper ID badge.
- Check that the collecting tin seal is not damaged.
- Ask the collector for more information – a genuine charity should be happy to answer questions.
- Check whether a collector has authority to collect. A permit or license is usually needed if raising money in a public place. Collections in private places like train stations and supermarkets need the owner’s or manager’s permission. Collections in pubs need either a license or an exemption.
- If you receive collection bags or fundraising materials from non-charitable organisations claiming to be charitable, and/or using a false registered charity number, you should contact the police, your local trading standards office, the Advertising Standards Agency or your local council.
- If you want to donate online to a particular charity, visit the charity’s website – check that you have the right web address.
- Be very careful when responding to emails or clicking links within them to ensure that they are genuine. If you have any concerns about a request for donations that appears to come from a charity, don’t hesitate to contact that charity directly.
- If you are worried that you may have been targeted by a fundraising scam, you should contact the police and inform the Charity Commission through its website.
10. If in any doubt, send your donation directly to the charity.