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10.Digital

When used responsibly, technology can play an important part in expanding the reach of charitable fundraising appeals. This section includes standards for online fundraising platforms, including telling donors about how you will use their data and any fees you may take for hosting a fundraising campaign. It also includes the standards for emails and messages to mobile devices, including meeting the Phone-paid Services Authority Code of Practice, marketing messages and using charity short codes.

As well as your main website, you may have other related websites or microsites created for specific campaigns or events. This section covers all websites you create.

10.1.Digital media

In this section, ‘you’ means a charitable institution, a third-party fundraiser or an online fundraising platform. 

10.1.1.

In England, Scotland and Wales, you must meet the Equality Act 2010 (so far as it applies in the area in which you are fundraising) and must make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to meet the needs of all users. In Northern Ireland, you must not discriminate against people with characteristics that are protected under the laws of Northern Ireland. You can get more information from the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland.

10.1.2.

You must make sure that your contact information is easy to find on your website.

10.1.3.

You must meet the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003 (as amended in 2011) and wider data protection requirements.

10.1.4.

You must let users know if the website uses cookies. The way you do this must be suitably prominent and understandable to make sure that if the user agrees to you using cookies, this decision is informed.

10.1.5.

You must clearly explain how you collect and use personal data, for example, through a privacy policy or statement.

10.1.6.

You must make sure all information about how you collect and use personal data is easily accessible from the website’s home page and any page which collects personal data.

Further guidance

10.2.Online fundraising platforms

In this section, ‘you’ means an online fundraising platform.

Donation pages hosted on a charitable institution’s own website (that is where the donor is not directed away from the charitable institution’s own domain name to a third party’s) are not considered within this section of the code if no fees are charged on individual donations. If a third party charges fees (including payment transaction fees) on a donation-by-donation basis, charitable institutions should make sure the fees, and how they are charged, are clear, in line with this section of the code.

Money raised through online fundraising platforms may go: 

  • direct to a charitable institution; 
  • to a fundraiser or fundraisers to pass on to a registered charitable institution; or
  • to a beneficiary who is not a registered charitable institution.

If you provide links to our and your own guidance, you must explain your reasons for this to make sure that prospective donors are suitably informed about appeals before donating and that funds raised are managed appropriately.

Alongside the standards below, you should pay particular attention to the following sections of the code.

Further guidance

Fees for hosting a fundraising campaign

In some circumstances an online fundraising platform may fall within the definition of a professional fundraiser or commercial participator. If this is the case, see section 7: Professional fundraisers, commercial participators and partners for definitions and standards you must follow.

10.2.1.

If you charge fees for hosting a fundraising campaign (for example, platform fees, a proportion of the donation or Gift Aid, payment transaction fees, administrative fees, or monthly or yearly subscription fees paid by a charity or fundraiser), you must make sure that the following details are clearly visible to people donating through your site and are displayed before the point at which you ask for their financial details. 

  • How your pay will be calculated (for example, as a percentage of the Gift Aid, a fee charged on each donation or X pounds (or pence) of each donation).
  • How much you will receive, if you know this at the time of the donation. (If you don’t know the exact amount, give an example that demonstrates how much your organisation would receive on an imaginary donation.)

Responsibilities of online fundraising platforms

10.2.2.

You must provide a link to our guidance for those setting up a fundraising page on your website.

10.2.3.

You must make sure our guidance is:

  • easily accessible for those setting up a fundraising page on your site; and 
  • available before the point at which donation pages become active.
10.2.4.

You must also publish good-practice guidance for those setting up a fundraising page on your website.

10.2.5.

Your guidance must highlight things fundraisers should consider when planning their appeal to prospective donors. This must include the implications of raising money for a cause where no charitable institution is identified as the beneficiary, including:

  • the possibility that a personal crowdfunding appeal may itself need to be registered as a charity with the relevant regulatory body; and
  • if you are a charity, that the appeal will need to meet the legal requirements for public benefit.
10.2.6.

You must publish guidance that highlights the following requirements which fundraisers should include when publicising their appeal to prospective donors through their fundraising page on your site.

  • Who is organising the appeal.
  • Whether the money raised is for a specific purpose or for the person receiving it to use as they see fit. If the money is for a charitable institution and will be used for a specific purpose, fundraisers must contact the charitable institution to make sure they are aware and happy to receive the money for this purpose. For more standards on money given for restricted purposes, see section 2.7 Using funds.
  • What the target of the appeal will be, if this applies. This might be a time target or a financial target.
  • Whether the fundraiser is raising money on behalf of or for a charitable institution and, if this applies, the name of the charitable institution.
  • How people can donate, including, where relevant, alternative ways of donating to the appeal and ways to increase donations through Gift Aid.
  • What deductions will be made for expenses.
  • What the fundraiser will do with the money if: 
    • they do not raise enough to meet their target; 
    • they raise more than their target; or
    • the original purpose for which they are asking for donations is no longer valid for any reason.
10.2.7.

You must ask those setting up a fundraising page on your site to confirm that they have read and understood the guidance using a clear and positive action before the donation page is published (for example, using active methods such as ticking unticked boxes).

10.2.8.

You must take reasonable measures to avoid fraudulent activity and money laundering through your site. If the money raised is not going straight to the bank account of a charitable institution, you must make it clear, before a donation is made, that donors give at their own risk.

10.2.9.

You must state that your users need to keep to the sections of the code that apply to their fundraising as a condition of using your site and that you have the right to end or suspend their use of the site if necessary.

Further guidance

Data protection and privacy

10.2.10.

You must meet all relevant data protection laws. Personal details of donors and fundraisers must only be passed from your organisation to another if you are allowed to do this by law (this is known as having a lawful basis to do so). For more information, see section 3 Processing personal data (information).

Payment services

10.2.11.

If these apply, you must meet: 

10.3.Messages to mobile devices

In this section, ‘you’ means a charitable institution or third-party fundraiser. 

10.3.1.

You must register with the Phone-Paid Services Authority (PSA) and meet its Code of Practice, when using premium-rate text messages, unless the services are exempt (as defined in the Phone-paid Services Authority Code of Practice).

10.3.2.

You must only send marketing messages to mobile phones belonging to individuals if those people have already given you permission to do this.

10.3.3.

You must make the process people need to follow to register to receive messages clear on all relevant documents, including websites. And you must include procedures for unsubscribing from messages on all marketing messages you send.

10.3.4.

You must use a simple opt-out message for people to tell you if they don’t want to receive messages from you.

10.3.5.

You must make sure that users can opt out of any marketing message, free of charge (except for the costs of sending the opt-out message).

For more standards on data protection, see section 3 Processing personal data (information).

10.3.6.

You must make the cost of premium-rate messages clear to donors and must explain how and when they will be billed.

10.3.7.

You must offer an option for people to reply by text message to opt out of receiving further messages, and this must be clear in all marketing.

10.3.8.

For competitions and prize draws, you must provide a clear and simple method of accessing any terms and conditions and you must publish the identity of the promoter.

10.3.9.

When receiving donations by text message, you must use charity short codes.

10.4.Bulk email

10.4.1.

You must not send bulk emails from a named person’s email account.