Charity Commission advice on how to help civilians impacted by the Israel-Gaza conflict
Charity regulator urges people to give support via existing, regulated charities.
The Charity Commission has published advice on how people can help civilians impacted by the ongoing conflict in Israel and Gaza and support genuine relief efforts.
The charity regulator advises supporting existing, registered charities experienced in responding to humanitarian crises. These organisations are best placed for getting international aid to civilians caught up in conflict zones and respond to the changing situation on the ground.
The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), which brings together 15 UK aid charities to raise funds quickly and efficiently in times of crisis overseas, has signposted which of its member charities have appeals to help civilians affected by the conflict in Gaza and Israel.
Helen Stephenson, Chief Executive of the Charity Commission said:
As the distressing events in Israel and Gaza continue to unfold, people will be asking how they can help the many civilians affected by the conflict. It is important that every donation reaches its intended cause. In issuing this advice, we are reminding everyone to give with confidence through registered charities including the appeals launched by DEC member charities.
Operating in a conflict zone is complex and hazardous, with registered charities and global NGOs working hard to support affected civilians across and within borders. These established, recognised organisations already have the networks on the ground for delivering aid and are the best organisations to support financially to ensure donations reach civilians in need.
Steps to giving safely
People can support genuine relief efforts by following a few simple steps before giving:
- check the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) website. It has signposted which of its member charities have appeals
- for those who choose to donate to other charities, the charity regulator is reminding people to check charities are registered and legitimate:
- contact them or find out more online about the charity that you’re seeking to donate to or work with to understand how it is spending funds
- make sure the charity is genuine before giving any financial information
- be careful when responding to emails or clicking on links within them
- check the charity’s name and registration number on the Charity Register at www.gov.uk/checkcharity – most charities with an annual income of £5,000 or more must be registered in England and Wales
- look out for the Fundraising Badge – the logo that says ‘registered with Fundraising Regulator’ – and check the Fundraising Regulator’s Directory of organisations committed to fundraise in line with its Code of Fundraising Practice.
Informal fundraising appeals
The Commission also urges people to be wary of informal appeals shared on social media, online or directly, and to use the same steps to check how the money raised will reach those they want to support.
Anyone initiating informal fundraising appeals – those not linked to established registered charities – may not be aware of the ongoing responsibilities of managing the money raised. This includes ensuring it is accounted for properly and spent in line with donors’ wishes. The Commission’s five minute guide on managing charity finances outlines these responsibilities.
Setting up a charity
People should consider carefully if setting up a new charity is the best way to help. A new, registered charity must comply with relevant laws and regulations and people are being advised not to travel to the region.
There are several steps and significant legal responsibilities involved in setting up a new charity. Applications for registration with the Charity Commission are thoroughly assessed, making sure each meet criteria set out in charity law, laid down by Parliament, and is for the public benefit.
An immediate, practical consideration for people thinking about setting up a new charity is current travel advice. At present the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) advises against all but essential travel to parts of The Occupied Palestinian Territories.
Donating through existing appeals or volunteering for existing charities are often the safest, most effective and fastest way to support the vital work already taking place to address the rapidly changing situation and urgent needs of affected civilians. Search for existing charities on the Charity Commission’s online Register.
Notes to editors:
Further tips on giving safely to registered charities are available on GOV.UK
The Charity Commission is the independent, non-ministerial government department that registers and regulates charities in England and Wales. Its purpose is to ensure charity can thrive and inspire trust so that people can improve lives and strengthen society.
The Fundraising Regulator is the independent regulator of charitable fundraising in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Further guidance on giving safely to charity is available on the Fundraising Regulator’s website. It can be reached on FR@pagefield.co.uk
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