We have particular expertise advising on all aspects of fundraising by charities, social enterprises and other ‘not for profit’ organisations.

Our charity law specialists are experienced advising on a wide range of fundraising activities, which is often a centrally important aspect of a charity’s operations. Engaging in a wide range of income generating activities helps to safeguard your charity against the risk of financial difficulties as a result of the sudden loss of a major source of income.

Charity trustees have important legal duties to safeguard the charity’s assets, and directors of social enterprises and other ‘not for profit’ organisations have similar obligations to promote the success of the business. Diversity of fundraising is an important mechanism by which they may satisfy these duties.

Our services

We offer specialist advice on a broad range of fundraising activities, including:

  • professional fundraising, including face to face (e.g. street, door to door), telemarketing, and direct mail campaigns – advising on the statutory legal requirements that must be met whenever engaging with professional fundraisers and drafting suitable agreements
  • lotteries and raffles
  • fundraising campaigns – in particular, advising on how to avoid the risk of a campaign ‘failing’ and the legal issues associated with ‘failed campaigns’
  • commercial participation, including corporate product/services sales, events, affinity deals and other similar promotional ventures – advising on the statutory legal requirements that must be met whenever engaging with commercial participators and drafting suitable agreements
  • corporate sponsorships, including event sponsorship, product sponsorship and ‘cause’ or general sponsorship – drafting sponsorship agreements and advising on key tax and VAT issues
  • fundraising events – advising on all aspects of the event planning, including the availability of tax and VAT exemptions for eligible events, and volunteer management – in particular, advice on how to avoid inadvertently creating an employer/employee relationship
  • major gifts – advising on GDPR and issues around ‘prospecting’ and ‘wealth screening’, drafting or advising on gift agreements (including from international individuals) and on associated estate planning and personal tax issues for individual donors
  • grants - advising on terms and conditions of grants and drafting grant agreements
  • membership campaigns – advice on options for structuring membership arrangements, and on terms and conditions for services to be offered
  • Gift Aid and other tax and VAT advice
  • direct marketing, digital fundraising and marketing and social media campaigns – advising on GDPR and other key legal issues
  • legacies – administration of estates, and disputed legacies
  • charity retail, including ecommerce, and the Retail Gift Aid scheme
  • trading and associated tax and VAT issues
  • public procurement and the delivery of public sector services.

Free guide to fundraising with commercial partners

We have published a free guide to help you to understand the statutory requirements that apply whenever engaging with professional fundraisers and commercial participators.

Although not a substitute for legal advice, the guide explains the key legal considerations in plain English, includes practical tips, and helps you to identify when you might need professional advice. It also includes a helpful flowchart in chapter 9, designed to be a practical tool to assist you to identify when the rules apply.

Our new free guide will be of interest to charities, social enterprises and other ‘not for profit’ organisations that engage in fundraising activities, and any commercial businesses that work with them.

To request a free copy of the guide, please email [email protected] with your postal address. To be kept updated on any future legal developments, please also register and opt in to receive the Charities and Social Enterprise team’s newsletter.

Key contacts

Liz Brownsell

Senior Associate, Co-Head of Charities and Social Enterprise

+44 (0)1473 406383

+44 (0)7525 735802

Meet the full team