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Mapping trends and principles of self-regulation regimes on fundraising

A new analysis, commissioned by ECNL to the Philanthropy Center, delves into the literature and practice of self-regulation regimes, with a focus on fundraising principles. It is authored by Ian MacQuillin, Dr Adrian Sargeant and Harriet Day.

Fundraising has been dynamically changing with the digital revolution, professionalization of fundraisers, spread of social movements and other trends over the past decade. CSOs and fundraising associations have played a key role in shaping the environment for fundraising efforts. Fundraising self-regulation has become widespread. Despite this there has been limited academic attention and available data on the issue.

The present review conducted by the Philanthropy Center on fundraising self-regulation aims to fill this gap and provides a thorough analysis of the relevant theoretical perspectives. It can serve as an analytical framework for local stakeholders that consider introducing a self-regulation mechanism for fundraising.

It also feeds into ECNL’s work on setting global Principles for statutory regulation and self-regulation of fundraising with the support of the core group of experts. The Principles attempts to map the terrain of fundraising regulation and self-regulation globally in order to understand the common interests and intersections of the philanthropic sector, government, and other stakeholders in building and maintaining strong, well-resourced CSOs while maintaining appropriate safeguards for the public, donors, and other stakeholders. They aim to support advocacy efforts to create an enabling environment for private giving within and across countries.

The analysis explores the various typologies of self-regulation and examines the main methods of fundraising self-regulation that are being currently used by CSO’s around the world. It also highlights two case studies from the UK, a country with a rich history in fundraising. The authors conducted a series of 22 quantitative interviews with key individuals involved in fundraising self-regulation around the world. The authors conclude with a set of recommendations, including a call for new regulators to:

  • reflect on the principles of effective scheme design outlined in the analysis;
  • reflect on the measures they will use to assess their own effectiveness;
  • adhere to the Better Regulation Agenda and the five principles of better regulation.

Read the report here.

The analysis was developed as part of the ‘Sustainable Frameworks for Public Fundraising’ project, managed by the European Center for Not-for-Profit Law Stichting (ECNL). The project is made possible by the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL) through the Civic Space Initiative.

It is wholly financed by the Government of Sweden. The Government of Sweden does not necessarily share the opinions here within expressed. The author bears the sole responsibility for the content.