IoF publishes guidance on accepting and refusing donations

Written by Lauren Weymouth

The Institute of Fundraising has published updated guidance on the acceptance and refusal of donations, following the Presidents Club scandal earlier this year.

Allegations of sexual harassment at a Presidents Club fundraising event in London in January sparked debate when a number of charities, including Great Ormond Street Hospital, initially refused the donations.

The charity sector has since been questioning when it is appropriate to refuse donations, and indeed whether there is ever a right time.

The IoF's new guidance follows on from the controversy and aims to help trustees and fundraisers make clear and consistent decisions regarding accepting or refusing donations.

The guidance is aimed at anyone in charities who is involved in raising funds and making decisions on gift acceptance, and specifically covering the role and responsibility of trustees. It also sets out guidance on how to put together a policy on gift acceptance and refusal and examples of where charities might have to make difficult decisions.

“Donation acceptance is fundamentally important to a charity’s reputation and the trust the public have in them, and it is important to ensure that a conflict does not arise from accepting a donation with a charity’s ethics, values and vision,” the IoF said.

“To help charities make the right decisions for their organisation, the IoF have built upon their existing guidance on acceptance and refusal to give charities further support as they prepare a consistent and considered strategy for potential risks in the future.”

IoF policy manager, Stephanie Siddall added that there are considerations that can be “more important” than making sure there is enough money and resource for the charity to be able to carry out its work.

“The value of donation may not always be worth the cost in terms of a potential loss of public trust and confidence, reputational damage or a conflict with the charity’s ethics, values and vision,” she said.

“These aren’t easy decisions, which is why this guidance is an important tool in supporting charities, fundraisers and trustees to know how to deal with these situations.”

You can read the gull guidance here.

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