The Fundraising Standards Board (FRSB), in collaboration with Plan UK and four other child-focused charities, has announced new standards that aim to bring greater transparency and clarity to child sponsorship fundraising in the UK.
The Child Sponsorship Charter specifies what ‘child sponsorship’ means and how it should be portrayed and marketed to the public.
The new guidance has been developed through a forum of five leading charities that run successful long-term child sponsorship programmes – Plan UK, World Vision, ActionAid, EveryChild and SOS Children’s Villages – plus key umbrella bodies – the FRSB, Institute of Fundraising, Charity Commission, and the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP), which sets the codes of practice enforced by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).
The collaboration began when Plan approached the FRSB in April 2010 after a public complaint, the first in its 74-year history, about a Plan television advert was investigated and dismissed by the ASA.
Plan, a pioneer in this field, and the FRSB felt there was a need for the whole sector to review standards with specific focus on marketing and public messaging. Specific focus was needed around the meaning of ‘sponsorship’, pertaining to one-to-one relationships with an individual child, and transparency in communicating how donations are used within the child’s community or country.
Jeremy Cooper, Fundraising Director, Plan UK, said, “Child sponsorship is such a great way to bring international development issues to life and I’m really pleased we’ve come together to agree common standards and guidelines on how to promote it in the UK.
“Child sponsorship has evolved considerably since Plan first started back in 1937, and yet throughout that change and evolution, it has remained true to its original purpose and vision. It’s a fantastic means of support and forms enduring relationships for everyone involved; the charity, the sponsors and the children that sit at the heart of all our development work.”
The Child Sponsorship Charter will be promoted to relevant FRSB member charities to encourage adoption and will be freely available on the FRSB website. The FRSB aims to maintain the Charter and schedule future reviews with the Institute of Fundraising to ensure its efficacy.