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Cii Fundraising Codes of Good Practice

Fundraising Codes

Description of Codes of Fundraising and what they are designed for?

The Charities Institute Ireland Fundraising Codes of Good Practice (the “Codes”) are a resource and set of tools to help individuals at a fundraising level to ensure they are doing the best they can to follow best practice and are operating in as transparent, effective and professional a manner as possible in their roles within their charity.

The Guidelines for Charitable Organisations on Fundraising from the Public issued by the Charities Regulatory Authority (the “Authority Guidance on Fundraising”) are for the organisation as a whole and are aimed at the charity trustees. These Codes have been designed and written to help charities and those who undertake fundraising for charities (referred to collectively throughout these Codes as “fundraisers”), to do their job, ensure compliance and complement the other guidelines and legal obligations. Fundraisers should therefore consult both the Authority Guidance on Fundraising and these Codes prior to carrying out their fundraising activities. 

Any reference throughout these  Codes to “you” or “the charity” is a reference to the person(s) undertaking the fundraising function within the charity.

In 2017 Charities Institute Ireland drafted these Codes with professional assistance from law firm Mason Hayes & Curran and independent fundraising expert Catriona Hogan. In 2021 the Codes were reviewed and updated with the assistance of Hayes Solicitors.

The Codes provide detailed guidance on the standards expected of fundraisers. They are a really practical, user-friendly, “how to” set of resources for fundraisers. The purpose of the Codes is to improve professional standards amongst fundraisers. They are based on considerable international research on codes of practice for fundraisers and have been drafted to ensure that fundraisers in Ireland are carrying out their duties to the highest levels of international best practice. Members of Cii will be expected to demonstrate their commitment to professional standards by adhering to these Codes.

The Codes cover all forms of fundraising. They set out a graduated approach to rules and standards by restating (1) the legal requirements to be followed by all and (2) appropriate good practice advice which all charities are recommended to implement.

Please note that these Codes take the form of guidance, and should not be used as a substitute for legal advice. Fundraisers should understand that there are certain overarching legal obligations that apply to many fundraising activities, and are therefore not listed in every section of these Codes, including the following:

  • Adherence to and compliance with the principle of donor intent, which requires all funds raised to be used for the purposes to which the donor intended;
  • Compliance with equality legislation, which prohibits discrimination in the carrying out of fundraising activities;
  • Compliance with product safety legislation and health and safety legislation, which provides for certain minimum safety standards to be met;
  • Adherence to and compliance with any necessary insurance requirements and obligations; and
  • Compliance with the sale of goods and supply of services legislation, which requires goods and services to meet certain basic quality standards.

Further, there are certain fundraising activities that may require specific niche legal advice, depending on the activities that are being undertaken.

The Fundraising Codes of Good Practice are an invaluable tool kit that fundraisers can refer to for guidance and clarity when carrying out their various fundraising activities. These Codes also highlight to the sector, the public, donors and others the high professional standards that fundraisers work to and adhere to in their important roles when raising money for very worthy causes.

This publication contains a practical summary of the law. It should not replace legal advice tailored to your specific circumstances. While every effort has been made to ensure the correctness, accuracy and completeness of the information contained within this publication, Mason Hayes & Curran and the other contributors assume no responsibility and give no warranty in that regard and accept no liability for any loss or damage incurred through the use of, or reliance upon this publication. Readers of this publication should satisfy themselves as to the correctness of the information contained in this publication.

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