Most countries have public interest organizations that raise funds from the public for good causes – usually to help the deprived, disabled, or disadvantaged. Some serve people, others protect animal welfare, and others concentrate on preserving the environment. They are classed as “not-for-profit organizations” or “charities” and, because they are largely dependent on volunteers and the services of dedicated people working for the public good, in most countries they enjoy special tax advantages.
Sadly, notall such bodies are bona fide and across the world unscrupulous individuals exploit people’s good nature and their willingness to give for charity. To help the genuine organizations that work for the public good, and to give the public reassurance that they can make donations with confidence, many countries have developed national accrediting bodies that inspect public interest bodies and, if they meet high standards of probity and integrity, will award a public certificate confirming that the organization is well-run and deserving of support.
Increasingly, fundraising is taking place on a worldwide basis: many charities work across international boundaries, and it is important that people in different countries can have confidence that international fundraising bodies are indeed bona fide and deserving of support.
This is one reason why national accrediting bodies in numerous countries have joined together in the ICFO in 1958. ICFO helps to harmonize accreditation procedures and standards, and acts as an international forum for discussion and debate on accreditation issues. ICFO was formally incorporated on 10 September 1990 in Holland as a Dutch association – a not-for-profit organization. ICFO has two types of members: Ordinary Members which are organizations that monitor fundraising bodies, and Supporting Members which are individuals or organizations that support the aims of ICFO and wish to take part in meetings and the exchange of information.