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A complaint about volunteer fundraising: Mr W

The complaint

Mr W used an online giving platform to organise a race to raise money for a town in Africa. His intention was to organise the race every year until the local people could organise it instead.

He agreed with a charity that the money raised would be given to them, and that the charity would then pass money to him each year as needed. But he’s now in a disagreement with the charity about what should happen to the money raised.

Our findings

We found that the charity did not ensure that accepted donations were used according to the conditions attached to the donations.

We found that it was clear that donors were led to believe that their donations would be used for prizes for the event for that year and the following one.

We also found that the charity was not timely in its handling of the complaint.

Our recommendations

The charity told us they would review how staff overseas engage with people wishing to fundraise using the charity’s trademark.

We recommended that the charity reimburse Mr W for the money that he spent on prizes for the two year's events, on production of receipts.

We asked the charity that the remaining funds be used for a project in the same art of Africa. 

We also recommended that the charity review their complaints process and consider the learning from this complaint, in particular, whether the charity should have brought the complaint to the Fundraising Regulator given that they were unable to settle the dispute.

Finally, we recommended that the charity provide Mr W with a written apology of the breaches of the Code of Fundraising Practice that we have identified.

The charity accepted our findings and recommendations.