CharityGiving website suspended by charity regulator

The online giving website www.charitygiving.co.uk has been suspended.

In order to protect funds the public has raised and prevent further charitable pledges being made via the website whilst the Charity Commission’s investigation continues the decision has been taken to suspend the CharityGiving online portal with immediate effect.

The action was taken by the charity’s interim manager after careful consideration and consultation with the Charity Commission as part of the Commission’s statutory inquiry into The Dove Trust.

CharityGiving is an online fundraising portal run by The Dove Trust.

The Commission used its powers under the Charities Act 2011 to appoint Pesh Framjee of Crowe Clark Whitehill as interim manager of the charity on June 6 2013 in order to fulfil specified functions.

On June 28, due to the risk to charitable funds, the Commission acted to restrict the charity’s bank accounts.

The Charity Commission has now made an order to give the interim manager full control of the charity to the exclusion of the charity’s trustees.

The trustees have not filed any accounts since the year ending April 5 2009 and the Commission has serious concerns about mismanagement in the administration of the charity by the trustees in relation to the operation of the online donations portal and risk to charity funds.

The interim manager’s recent assessment indicates that there is a shortfall between the funds due to the charities donated through CharityGiving, and the cash held by The Dove Trust.

Michelle Russell, head of investigations and enforcement at the Charity Commission, said: “We have taken this action because of serious concerns about the trustees’ management of the fundraising portal and the charity’s financial situation.

"We recognise this will cause concern among the donors and fundraisers who have collected money for the charity through the site and for the charities who are expecting to receive those funds.

"However it is now clear that the financial situation of the charity means there was no option but to suspend the online portal.

"We know that the public will be concerned to ensure that donations made reach the charities for whom they were intended, and the interim manager will now undertake an urgent, detailed review of the charity’s finances to establish the extent of the shortfall and which charities and donors are affected.

"Our concerns are limited to The Dove Trust and the CharityGiving portal and this should not undermine public confidence in online giving.

"We have issued advice to the public about giving safely and will work with the fundraising community to reassure the public.”

The Commission said it cannot assist individual donors, fundraisers or charities to advise whether or not they are affected, or whether or not their funds will be paid – any such queries must be directed to the interim manager.

Donors and charities who are concerned about funds pledged via CharityGiving should contact: DoveTrustInterimManager@crowecw.co.uk or phone 0207 842 7313.

Any funds donated on or after July 12 should be automatically directed back to the donor through the banking system, however, donors should check their bank accounts to ensure this has happened and if not, contact the interim manager.

It is expected that an alternative option will be set up by the interim manager shortly so that donors can continue to support charities.

Charities and donors should check regularly the CharityGiving website for updates.

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