(Immediate Release - 13 October 2011)
The Charity Commission, the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales, has today published a report on its investigation into fundraising appeals for humanitarian disaster relief by the radio station Sunrise Radio.
The Commission's investigation established that funds raised by the station in 2004 and 2005 had still not been spent five years later.
Following the tsunami in December 2004, Sunrise Radio made an on-air appeal requesting donations to help victims of the disaster. The station also made a further on-air appeal, together with its sister station Kismat Radio, in October 2005 in response to the earthquake in Pakistan.
By November 2005 the two appeals had together raised over £160,000. However, in November 2010 the Commission found that these funds had still not been used for the causes for which they were raised.
Although neither Sunrise Radio nor Kismat Radio are charities, the Commission established that the funds raised by the appeals were held for charitable purposes and accordingly fell within the Commission's jurisdiction as regulator of charities for England and Wales.
Following the Commission's intervention, the funds have now been awarded to two registered charities working in areas of Sri Lanka affected by the 2004 tsunami and in areas of Pakistan affected by the 2005 earthquake. The Commission's full findings are set out in the report, published on its website today.
The report highlights the importance of proper planning for any fundraising appeal. This is particularly important when raising funds for those affected by disasters, where the need for humanitarian relief is immediate. The public often responds to such appeals and expects, given the urgent need for relief, that the funds will be applied quickly. Before launching a disaster appeal trustees should consider whether their charity or organisation is able to deliver services where the disaster has occurred. It may be more appropriate to raise funds on behalf of another charity that is in a position to do so.
More generally, when embarking on an appeal for a particular purpose trustees should also ensure they have provisions in place to cover all eventualities, including what will happen if the appeal fails to reach its targets and how any excess funds might be spent. This should be made clear when promoting the appeal. Donors should be able to give confidently, knowing how their donation will be used.
In response to humanitarian disaster, members of the public may wish to donate directly to an individual charity with an established record of working in the area concerned. You can find details of all registered charities on the Charity Commission website.
For further information please contact the press office.
Notes to Editors
1. The Charity Commission is the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales. See www.charitycommission.gov.uk for further information.
2. Our mission is: to ensure charities' legal compliance, enhance charities' accountability, encourage charities' effectiveness and impact and to promote the public interest in charity.
3. The Charity Commission Media Information Centre, available on the Commission's website, provides useful and relevant background information specifically for journalists, particularly in relation to issues that regularly attract press interest.
4. There are over 180,000 registered charities, some of which have similar names or working names. To avoid confusion, each registered charity can be identified by its individual registration number, which can be checked on the Register of Charities.
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