The Charity Commission, the independent charity regulator for England and Wales, has published advice for people who want to support those affected by the floods in Pakistan, whether by fundraising or by making a personal donation.
The public’s support is crucial to enable charities to deliver desperately needed aid to Pakistan but it is vital that donations go to a genuine charity so that they reach those in need. Sadly, there are criminals who try to take advantage of the public’s generosity in response such disasters, and the Commission has been made aware in previous emergency appeals, such as the Haiti appeal, of online scams designed to steal charitable donations. These can take the form of fictitious appeal websites, email appeals that falsely use the name of genuine charities, or appeals from fictitious charities.
The Commission is urging the public to continue giving but to be vigilant, and has the following advice for those who wish to make a donation:
- Be careful when responding to emails or clicking links within them to ensure that they are genuine. If you have any concerns about the legitimacy of a request for donations that appears to come from a charity, don’t hesitate to contact that charity directly.
- If you are in any doubt about a charity collector, ask for their identification and the charity’s name and registration number. If you are not happy about giving then and there, you can check to see if the charity is on the public register of charities on the Commission’s website – www.charitycommission.gov.uk.
- If you are concerned that you may have been targeted by a fundraising scam, you should report this to the police. You should also contact the Charity Commission on 0845 300 0218 or via the website – www.charitycommission.gov.uk.
- If you want to donate online to a particular charity, visit the charity’s website.
Think about how you are going to give. If you are a UK taxpayer and donate directly to a charity – whether online, over the phone, by post or by handing in a cheque at the charity’s office or shop – it can claim Gift Aid to maximise your donation.
An appeal for the Pakistan floods is being run by the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC). The money raised will support the efforts of the DEC’s members, which are 13 of the major UK aid agencies and all UK registered charities. Information is on the DEC website – www.dec.org.uk. Numerous other registered charities are involved in the relief efforts and are currently fundraising.
There are laws around collecting money for charity in public which are there to protect donors and make sure that the money raised goes to a genuine charitable cause. If you want to fundraise for those who have been affected by the Pakistan floods, you should:
Have the necessary permission from your local authority or the Metropolitan Police if you live in a London borough.
Only collect using a sealed tin or container.
- Always make sure you state the name and registration number of the charity you are collecting for.
- Always make sure there is more than one person to count the collection proceeds and sign off the total amount
Bank any cash as soon as possible, preferably straight into the charity account. Get a receipt from the Bank/Building Society.
- Report back to your community so they are reassured that the money has reached the good cause. You may wish to put notices in shops/post offices, or let your local paper know how much you raised and thank people for their support.