The complaints process

We have a clearly defined process for dealing with complaints. This allows charities and suppliers to use their complaints procedure before the complaint is passed to the FRSB. Most complaints can be resolved at this stage but the FRSB can help with any complaints that need to be escalated.

Part of our role as the charity fundraising regulator is to deal with complaints. We have a clearly defined process which allows charities and suppliers to use their complaints procedure to try to resolve the issue. We are here to support the public and the charity in reaching a solution.

Most complaints can be resolved at this stage but the FRSB helps with any complaints that need to be escalated.

Handling a complaint about a member

The complaints process is in three stages:

Fundraising complaints process

Stage 1: The charity tries to resolve the complaint

Any complaints can be raised with the charity or supplier, or with us. If you contact us, we’re happy to help deal with complaints at this stage. We’ll pass it on to the charity or supplier and explain the issue.

The charity or supplier should then try to resolve it. This can include the complaint being escalated to different members of staff within the charity.

This stage should happen within specific timescales:

The member of the public should:

The charity must:

Enquiry made about how to complain

Register the complaint to the organisation concerned within three months of the incident occurring. Provide the complainant with a copy of their complaints procedure and the Fundraising Promise on their website. This must be done within 14 days.

Complaint is made

Acknowledge the complaint in writing within 14 days.

When the investigation is completed

Tell the complainant of the outcome of the investigation within 30 days of receiving the complaint.

 If the outcome is not seen as satisfactory

 If the complainant wishes to escalate the complaint, they should raise their concerns with the FRSB within two months of receiving the charity’s final response. Tell the complainant they can refer the complaint to the FRSB within two months of the organisation issuing its final response.

Stage 2: The Fundraising Standards Board tries to resolve the complaint

If the complaint is not satisfactorily resolved, then it can be passed to us. We will investigate the complaint and work with our member and the complainant to try to resolve the problem.

Once we have received the complaint, we will contact the member charity concerned to inform them of the complaint and to gather information from them regarding the issue.

We will investigate the complaint and try to resolve it with all parties concerned within 30 days.

Stage 3: The FRSB Board upholds or rejects a complaint

If the complainant still is not satisfied with the outcome they can ask the FRSB Board to adjudicate.

The FRSB Board will review the complaint and report their conclusion within 60 days. The Board has the discretion to specify that either no further action is appropriate or to censure the charity and prescribe one or more sanctions.

Complaints about non-members

Where possible, we also try to investigate fundraising breaches by non-members. See our Non Member protocol

Firstly, we’ll acknowledge concerns raised about a non-member within 14 days.

If we consider it to appropriate, we may refer the complaint to other regulatory bodies such as :

  • the ASA
  • Information Commissioner
  • Office of Fair Trading
  • Direct Marketing Commission
  • Charity Commission England & Wales, OSCR, Charity Commission Northern Ireland
  • Trading Standards
  • the police.

If the evidence provided isn’t about a charities fundraising, we will not be able to handle it, but we will keep a note of it for future reference.

Using evidence to launch a formal investigation into a non-members fundraising activity is dependent on whether or not the organisation concerned chooses to co-operate with the FRSB. We’ll encourage a non-member to sign up to the FRSB if we believe that they are suitable for membership.

We will try to pursue the case to a satisfactory conclusion for both parties. However, as a minimum, we will write to the non-member outlining the evidence that’s been provided and requesting acknowledgement.

Latest adjudications

We publish all Board adjudications on complaints on our website. The complainants remain anonymous. See the latest adjudications.