Letter: It costs money to raise funds

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The Independent Online
YOUR article 'Company pockets 50p from every Rwanda donation' (7 August) was misleading. The Charity Commission encourages charities and fund-raisers to be open with the public about the costs of fund- raising. New regulations to be laid before Parliament later this year and new accounting standards have been developed with this in mind.

But it is important for readers to understand that it is often necessary to spend some money to collect and administer donations efficiently. It is as important for large charities to safeguard what they are given and manage it efficiently as it is to ensure that they do not waste resources.

I understand that the Red Cross is considering how to improve the information it provides for donors. This should help the public decide how it wishes to make a contribution to the Rwandan crisis. No one should hesitate to ask how much of what they give will actually reach the cause they are supporting.

The Charity Commission does not set a percentage guideline for appropriate costs for fund-raising appeals. The costs must depend upon the nature of the appeal and the fund- raising method. The trustees of the charity are responsible for ensuring that they raise whatever money is necessary as effectively and efficiently as possible.

Elizabeth Shaw

Executive Director

Charity Commisioners

London SW1