Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors

Charity Campaigning in a General Election Period

So you are thinking about charity campaigning?

A general election has been called to take place on 4th July 2024, and many charities will see this as an opportunity to highlight the issues faced by their beneficiaries. The Charity Commission states that charities can take part in political activity that supports their purpose, but they must follow the law when doing so.

We have put together a guide to campaigning during this period.

What is meant by political activity?

Political activity describes activities or campaigning to change or influence policies or decisions by local or national governments, or public bodies including NHS Trusts.

For example, a charity supporting people into cycling may argue for the local government to improve cycle routes in the area, this is political activity.

The rules on political activity

  • Charities can take part in political activity that supports their charitable purpose and best interests. Political activity can not become their sole purpose.
  • Charities must remain independent and must not give their support to a political party.
  • Political activity must be directly related to your charity’s purpose – you should not campaign for causes unrelated to your own.

Always check your governing documents for restrictions or powers regarding campaigning and political activity. Take advice if you need to in order to be informed, and be sure to manage any conflicts of interest.

Other considerations

You must also consider the impact of your political activity on the charity’s assets, including its reputation. This is especially important when the political activity might attract significant public interest or criticism.

You must be sure that:

  • it will further your charity’s purpose and be in its best interests
  • the charity will be able to remain independent of party political bias
  • you can justify using the resources needed for the activity
  • the potential benefits outweigh the risks
  • you comply with other laws that apply, for example on advertising, slander and libel
  • you avoid inflammatory or damaging rhetoric – remain respectful, tolerant and considerate of other views

Independence while working with politicians

Charities can support a policy that is supported by a political party or candidate, but must remember to remain independent.

An example is to have meetings with local councillors or MPs, you should seek to engage equally with all major political parties.

You could ask an MP or local councillor to speak at the launch of a new project by your charity – but remain independent by asking them not to promote party political messages at your event.

Charities must never provide money or resources to anybody who is standing as a candidate, or promote a particular candidate or political party.

Sources and further reading:

Agency For Good

Copyright 2024. All Rights Reserved

Skip to content