MP says give to genuine charities this Christmas 

VALE MP Alun Cairns is warning residents to check they are giving to a registered charity this Christmas.

Mr Cairns is also urging charities in Vale of Glamorgan to remain accountable to their donors by ensuring their financial information is submitted on time.

Three in four adults (76 per cent) would not donate to a charity which had failed to submit its financial information to the Charity Commission, according to an independent ICM poll commissioned by the charity regulator and the Fundraising Standards Board (FRSB), the self-regulatory body for UK fundraising.

Christmas is a traditional time for giving and charities work hard to raise money during this period to fund their work. 85 per cent of people give directly to charity at Christmas, donating an average of around £40 to the good causes they care about.

However, charities risk missing out on vital donations if they fail to submit their financial information to the Charity Commission, the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales. Annual documents are a key way charities remain accountable and transparent to the public. A charity's Register profile highlights that it is a legitimate registered charity, and shows whether it is up to date with its financial accounts and returns. A red late flag on an organisations register profile sends a warning signal to potential donors. With 67 per cent of respondents saying they are likely to make checks before giving in the future now they are aware of the issue, charities should be ensuring their record appears clean to potential donors.

Almost all collections are genuine, but some people will try to abuse the generosity of others for their own gain. The public has a key part to play in keeping charities accountable by using the resources available to them; however, 43 per cent of adults never make any checks when approached by a collector for a charitable donation. Asking the collector for ID, looking for the FRSB give with confidence tick and checking the Charity Commissions online Register are all simple checks the public can carry out to ensure their money goes to the right cause.

The public should follow the tips below to continue to give safely and avoid charity scams this Christmas:

Before giving, check the charity’s name and registration number. You can verify this at the Charity Commission’s website at www.charitycommission.gov.uk. The charity’s profile shows whether or not the organisation is up to date with its annual reporting requirements.

When approached by collectors, check whether they are wearing a proper ID badge and that any collection tin is sealed.

If in doubt, ask the collector for more information - a genuine fundraiser should be happy to answer questions and explain more about the work of the charity.

Genuine fundraising materials should feature the charity's name, registered name and a landline contact number. Be wary of those that list only a mobile number.

Look for the FRSB tick logo indicating that the charity is signed up to fundraising regulation, encouraging you to give with confidence. www.givewithconfidence.org.uk

To check whether a fundraiser is authorised to collect money in a public place, contact your local authority or, if in London, the police. If it is a private place, check with the owner.

Take care when responding to emails or clicking links to a charity's website to ensure that they are genuine. Instead, search online for your favourite charity to check you have the right web address.

Carefully review collection bags for clothing and household goods to ascertain whether they are from a genuine charity.

After making these checks, if you think that a collection or appeal is not legitimate, report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 and inform the Charity Commission.

If in any doubt, contact your favoured charity direct to make a donation.

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