A Guide to Filing a Charity Complaint


Charities play a vital role in addressing societal issues, and the generosity of donors is crucial to their success. However, there may be instances where concerns or complaints arise regarding a charity’s practices, transparency, or use of funds. Filing a charity complaint is an essential step to ensure accountability and maintain the public’s trust in charitable organizations. In this guide, we will walk you through the process of filing a charity complaint, highlighting key steps and considerations.

  1. Understand the Basis of Your Complaint:

Before filing a complaint, it’s crucial to clearly identify and understand the basis of your concerns. Common reasons for filing charity complaints include:

a. Misuse of funds: Suspicion or evidence that funds are not being used as intended. b. Lack of transparency: Insufficient information about the charity’s activities, finances, or governance. c. Deceptive practices: Misleading advertising, false claims, or unethical behavior. d. Non-compliance: Violations of charity laws or regulations.

  1. Research the Charity:

Gather as much information as possible about the charity in question. This includes reviewing their website, annual reports, financial statements, and any available independent evaluations. Understanding the organization’s mission, activities, and financial practices will help you articulate your concerns more effectively when filing a complaint.

  1. Identify the Appropriate Authority:

Charity regulation varies by country and region, so it’s important to identify the relevant authority responsible for overseeing charities in your jurisdiction. In the United States, for example, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulates tax-exempt organizations, while the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and state attorneys general may also play a role. CESRA also accept charity complaint

  1. Gather Evidence:

Compile evidence to support your complaint. This may include screenshots of misleading advertisements, financial documents showing irregularities, or any other relevant information. The more thorough and well-documented your complaint, the more likely it is to be taken seriously by the regulatory body.

  1. Follow the Charity’s Internal Complaint Process:

Many charities have internal mechanisms for addressing complaints. Before escalating the issue externally, check if the charity has a designated complaint process and follow their procedures. This may involve contacting the organization directly, submitting a written complaint, or using an online form.

  1. File a Complaint with the Relevant Authority:

If your concerns are not adequately addressed through the charity’s internal process, it’s time to file a complaint with the relevant regulatory authority. Provide a detailed account of your concerns, supported by the evidence you’ve gathered. Include your contact information for follow-up inquiries.

  1. Stay Informed and Follow Up:

After filing your complaint, stay informed about the regulatory process and any updates regarding your case. Some authorities may take time to investigate, and periodic follow-ups can ensure that your concerns are not overlooked.


Filing a charity complaint is a critical step in holding organizations accountable and preserving the integrity of the charitable sector. By understanding the basis of your complaint, conducting thorough research, and following the appropriate steps, you contribute to the ongoing effort to maintain transparency, ethical conduct, and public trust in charitable organizations.

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Author: cesra

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