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How to give safely to charities

The Charity Commission want to make sure that the public are aware of the correct steps to follow when supporting and donating to charity, so that all donations go to the intended beneficiaries. Their latest safer giving campaign aims to help continue giving safely to registered charities.

Key advice for safer giving:

  • Check the charity’s name and registration number www.gov.uk/checkcharity
  • Make sure the charity is genuine before giving any financial information
  • Be careful when responding to emails or clicking on links within them
  • Check whether street collectors are wearing a proper ID badge and that any collection tin is sealed and undamaged
  • Ask the collector for more information if in doubt
  • Contact the charity that you’re seeking to donate to or work with to find out more about their spending
  • Carefully review collection bags for clothing and household goods to check whether they are from a genuine charity
  • Check whether fundraising materials are genuine. They should feature the charity’s name, registered number and a landline contact number (check their contact details on the register at www.gov.uk/checkcharity)
  • Never feel you need to make a donation immediately
  • Use the same level of caution every time you support or donate to a charity

Reporting suspicious activity

After making these checks, if you think that a collection or appeal is not legitimate, report it to the police. You can also complain about a charity to the Charity Commission and the Fundraising Regulator.

If you think a collection is fraudulent report it to Action Fraud through their website or call them on 0300 123 2040.

If you think a collector does not have a licence, report it to the relevant Local Authority Licensing Team or the Metropolitan Police (if in Greater London). Also let the charity and Action Fraud know if you can.

Read The Charity Commission - How to give safely to charities