Charities, like businesses and other organisations, can be targeted by fraudsters. And those charities that provide vital services and support local communities during Covid-19 may be especially vulnerable.
Figures from the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau reveal that between 1 January and 31 July this year, nearly £1 million in charity funds was reported lost to fraud and cybercrime.
Sadly, this is likely to be just the tip of the iceberg.
Recent analysis carried out by the Institute of Fundraising and the Charity Finance Group suggests the sector could suffer in the region of 60,000 job losses and experience a £10 billion drop in income because of Covid.
This means that now, more than ever, charities need to be fraud aware and take important steps to protect their money, people and assets from harm.
Whilst the sector is undoubtedly being hit hard by the impacts of the pandemic, strong financial management and good governance will be the twin levers that charity managers can pull in order to come through the crisis.
Extensive sector research* has shown that two thirds of charity frauds were identified either by financial controls or by audit, highlighting the importance of strong defence and detection.
Even charities with relatively small reserves to call upon can take simple steps to boost their resilience to fraud and cybercrime. In times like these, prevention really will be better than cure.
For charity managers, Fraud Awareness Week is a good place to start. Now in its fifth year, the international awareness-raising campaign, run jointly by the Charity Commission and Fraud Advisory Panel (together with a coalition of sector partners) aims to help charities fight fraud on all fronts and access a range of free resources via one handy information hub.
Through mini-tutorials, webinars, videos and factsheets, the 2020 campaign will focus on three simple messages:
1. Be fraud aware
2. Take time to check
3. Keep your charity safe
If you’d like to get actively involved in Fraud Awareness Week, you can download and use the Supporters Pack which contains a range of campaign posters and social media assets to boost promotion via your networks.
And on Tuesday, 20 October, CFG's CEO Caron Bradshaw will be joining with other guest speakers for a webinar entitled 'Beyond Covid-19: Keeping your charity safe from fraud'.
Join us this week to help keep #CharityFraudOut!
*Preventing Charity Fraud, Insights & Action, published Oct 2019; a Populus research survey for the Charity Commission and Fraud Advisory Panel
This article was written by Claire Parris, Policy Development Manager, Charity Commission and was first published in the September edition of Finance Focus.
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