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Charity collectors break rules

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

HebWeb reader, Susi H has alerted us to a recent edition of the Radio 4 programme, You and Yours which featured Hebden Bridge charity collectors.

You and Yours explained that companies are required to tell potential donors just how much they are paid when raising money for charity. Collectors are required, upon request, to say just how much is going to charity and how much is going towards their wages and the company who is employing them, something called a solicitation statement, a legal requirement. This statement could be as simple as, "My company is collecting for charity X and we are paid . . . ."

David Dunne contacted You and Yours after coming across Fundraising Initiatives collectors in Hebden Bridge asking for direct debits on behalf of the RSPCA. David asked one of the collectors if he had a solicitation statement. The collector replied that he didn't know what one was. David then asked for figures about how much money collectors were being paid and how much would go to charity. The collector didn't have a clue. The collector said that he didn't get involved in the politics of the collection. Dave pointed out it wasn't politics, it was the charity law.

You and yours checked with the Public Fundraising Regulatory Association (PFRA) which is in charge of regulating these kinds of collections and who confirmed that solicitation statements should be made available by charity collectors upon request.

You and Yours also contacted Calderdale Council's head of public services. Calderdale said they had not given permission for Fundraising Initiatives to seek direct debits from members of the public. When they became aware of this they asked Fundraising Initiatives to stop. The RSPCA informed David Dunn just how much how much goes to the charity. The RSPCA pay Fundraising Initiatives just under £1.8 million and aim to receive just over £2.3 million over five years. So roughly for every pound the RSPCA receives, they have already paid 76p to the company.

According to You and Yours, figures like this or not unusual in the charity sector.

Listen to the programme