Crowdfunding can seem like a daunting process in the midst of a hectic general election. But candidates and campaigns are raising thousands of pounds from small donors on Crowdpac right now to super-charge their campaigns. Crowdpac works better than a bland party donation page: you can tell your own unique story, people are more likely to donate and share the link, and you can decide where the money goes.

Here at Crowdpac, we specialise in political crowdfunding and are committed to lowering the barriers to participation. That includes raising money -- and making sure you’re doing it within the law. So whether you’re a candidate, an agent or an organiser, if you want to raise a bit more money while complying with Electoral Commission guidance, we’d love to help! Just email uk.campaigns@crowdpac.com.

Our team has been talking to lots of campaigns and helping them crowdfund already. We’ve put together this guide as a kind of “frequently asked questions” on electoral compliance for crowdfunding during the 2017 General Election - and how Crowdpac, as a platform built specifically for the funding of politics, makes this easy for you. There are three things we guarantee which other platforms may not:

- We will help you collect the information you need from donors to ensure all donations accepted comply with the law;

- We will ensure you have an imprint on your election crowdfunder, something which is recommended by the Electoral Commission and the parties;

- We have a team of political and crowdfunding experts who can chat through any issues with you, and help make sure your campaign is set up for success.

We are also better value than other platforms, deducting a total of only 4% from each donation to cover card processing fees and our own costs.

What do I need to report?

Political parties (including local parties) and candidates must report donations over certain thresholds to the Electoral Commission. Parties only need to report donations larger than £500, and election candidates are required to report any donation larger than £50.

97% of all donations on Crowdpac are less than or equal to £50. The vast majority of donations through our platform therefore do not need to be reported to the Electoral Commission or to go through full electoral compliance processes. However, every donation does need to be recorded, including the address of the donor, and our site helps with this.

It’s important to remember that donations from the same donor are treated in aggregate, whether they come via Crowdpac, through other channels or a mix of the two. So, five donations of £50 from the same individual or organisation must be treated as a total of £250.

Donations to political parties and candidates are regulated by the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 (PPERA), and you can find out more about Electoral Commission reporting guidelines here.

Can I accept donations from anyone?

No - under the law, political parties and candidates can only accept donations which are over these thresholds from permissible donors.

Candidates and political parties must check the eligibility of those who have donated more than the threshold (£500 for parties, £50 for candidates). You need to confirm that any donor who gives more than these thresholds to you is an eligible donor, for example that they are an individual on the electoral register.

If the donation isn’t from a permissible donor, or you can’t be sure of the true identity of the source, you must return it within the 30-day period.

If you have any questions about electoral reporting for Crowdpac campaigns, please contact uk.campaigns@crowdpac.com.

How do I found out whether my donors are permissible?

Before you accept any donation above the thresholds above, you must take all reasonable steps to make sure you know the identity of the source of the donation and check that this source is permissible. It is a criminal offence to fail to report political donations incorrectly.

To find out whether your donors are permissible, e.g. on the electoral register, you must undertake a permissibility check. You can use the electoral register to check if an individual is permissible. As a candidate or party, you can request a copy of the full electoral register from your local council. For donors elsewhere in the country, you can contact the Electoral Registration Officer of their constituency to check they’re on the voter roll there.

Permissible sources include:

- an individual registered on a UK electoral register, including overseas electors and those leaving bequests
- a UK registered company which is incorporated within the EU and carries on business in the UK
- a UK registered trade union
- a UK registered building society
- a UK registered limited liability partnership (LLP) that carries on business in the UK
- a UK registered friendly society
- a UK unincorporated association that is based and carries on business or other activities in the UK

Access to the full electoral register is free:

- for non-party campaigners, see pages 6 - 13, here.

- for registered political parties, see pages 5 - 6, here.

Does Crowdpac help candidates and campaigns collect information for electoral compliance?

Yes -- by default, donors to all campaigns hosted on Crowdpac that are subject to Electoral Commission compliance, including non party campaigns, are required to submit their name and address as well as their email.

We will send you weekly exports of your donor list for compliance purposes, and so you can follow up and thank donors; you can also request this information at any time if you need it, by emailing uk.campaigns@crowdpac.com.

Do I need to provide a legal imprint for my Crowdpac election campaign?

As good practice, and line with Electoral Commission guidance, we recommend that you should put an imprint on your Crowdpac crowdfunding pages, emails and campaign communications relating to your crowdfunding page. The imprint should include the name and address of the promoter and the organisation on whose behalf it has been produced. This is not an absolute legal requirement, but it is strongly recommended.

Does Crowdpac help candidates and campaigns collect information for electoral compliance?

Yes: donors to all campaigns hosted on Crowdpac which are subject to Electoral Commission compliance, including non party organisations, are required to submit their name, address and email by default.

Do I need to provide a legal imprint for my Crowdpac election campaign?

As good practice, we recommend that you should put an imprint on your Crowdpac crowdfunding pages, emails and campaign communications relating to your crowdfunding page. The imprint should include the name and address of the promoter and the organisation on whose behalf it has been produced.

I’ve received donations and checked permissibility, how do I make an electoral compliance report submission?

Reporting information for:

- Political Parties can be found here.

- General Election candidates can be found here.

- Non-Party Campaigners can be found here.

Further questions regarding campaign donation compliance can be directed towards the Electoral Commission via this email: pef@electoralcommission.org.uk