Losing control of fundraising

Losing control of fundraising
Case studies

Losing control of fundraising

Governance | 24 Apr 2012

No charity wants to curb the enthusiasm of its fundraisers and supporters – but what can you do if fundraising gets out of hand? Geoff Trobridge offers some advice.

A children’s charity had enjoyed the support of its ‘Friends’ organisation for many years. The trustees had welcomed efforts to involve children and young people in fundraising but latterly had become concerned that the fundraising activities were too ambitious and risky. Their concerns were brushed aside but matters came to a head after several children were lost on a sponsored hike; although they had been found safe and well, the emergency services had been involved and there had been adverse press comment.

The trustees started to ask questions. They discovered that the events did not appear to have been properly risk-assessed and may not have been appropriate for the age groups involved. The Friends did not have a child protection policy and not all volunteers had been CRB-checked. The publicity for the event had given the impression that the events had been organised or approved by the charity and although the charity had received donations it had little idea of the overall amount of money that had been raised.

The Friends became very defensive and were unwilling to admit that there was anything wrong in the way that the event had been organised or that there were lessons to be learned for future events that they were already planning.

There were clear risks to the reputation of the charity, both financially and from the point of view of child protection. Conversely the charity had benefited from the money that has been raised.

The ‘undiluted’ legal solution would be heavyhanded. A charity can apply to the court for an injunction to prevent unauthorised fundraising under Section 62 Charities Act 1992 if it is likely to continue.

The grounds are:

  • the fundraiser is using methods of fundraising to which the charity objects;
  • the fundraiser is not a fit and proper person to raise funds for the charity; or
  • if representations are being made that charitable contributions will be given to the charity, that the charity does not wish to be associated with the particular fundraising event.

The charity must give the fundraiser not less than 28 days notice requiring them to stop the activities before an application is made for an injunction.

An injunction would solve the immediate problem – and destroy the charity’s relationship with a significant number of its core supporters and fundraisers. In this instance however Section 62 allowed the trustees to ‘speak softly but carry a big stick’, negotiating a better arrangement with the Friends organisation to strike a better balance between the two. The key points were:

  • a new class of membership of the charity was created for those who wished to join as ‘Friends’;
  • the charity set up a fundraising committee drawn primarily from the Friends;
  • the charity’s child-protection policy and CRB checks procedures would subsequently apply to the fundraising activities; and
  • the funds raised by the new fundraising committee would be accounted for as part of the charity’s funds. 

Geoff Trobridge is head of the charity team at Lester Aldridge LLP 


[Cancel] | Reply to:

Close »

Community Standards

The community and comments board is intended as a platform for informed and civilised debate.

We hope to encourage a broad range of views, however, there are standards that we expect commentators to uphold. We reserve the right to delete or amend any comments that do not adhere to these standards.

We welcome:

  • Robust but respectful debate
  • Strongly held opinions
  • Intelligent relevant discussion
  • The sharing of relevant experiences
  • New participants

We will not publish:

  • Rude, threatening, offensive, obscene or abusive language, or links to such material
  • Links to commercial organisations or spam postings. The comments board is not an advertising platform
  • The posting of contact details for yourself or others
  • Comments intended for malicious purpose or mindless abuse
  • Comments purporting to be from another person or organisation under false pretences
  • Gratuitous criticism, commentary or self-promotion
  • Any material which breaches copyright or privacy laws, or could be considered libellous
  • The use of the comments board for the pursuit or extension of personal disputes

Be aware:

  • Views expressed on the comments board are left at users’ discretion and are in no way views held or supported by Civil Society Media
  • Comments left by others may not be accurate, do not rely on them as fact
  • You may be misunderstood - sarcasm and humour can easily be taken out of context, try to be clear


  • Enjoy the opportunity to express your opinion and respect the right of others to express theirs
  • Confine your remarks to issues rather than personalities

Together we can keep our community a polite, respectful and intelligent platform for discussion.

Neil Cleeveley: local infrastructure must show why it is valuable

26 Mar 2015

Navca’s chief executive Neil Cleeveley tells Kirsty Weakley that local infrastructure bodies need to...

Farewell to CIFs? Charity Authorised Investment Funds explained

19 Mar 2015

Kate Rogers analyses the story behind the Budget announcement of a new Charity Authorised Investment Fund...

The Wellcome Trust's investment strategy

10 Mar 2015

With a value of £18bn, the Wellcome Trust’s investment portfolio is the largest of all UK charities....

Six things we've learned about wooing major donors

16 Mar 2015

This month's issue of Fundraising Magazine focused on major donor fundraising. Stephen Cotterill highlights...

Encouraging philanthropists to take risks

13 Mar 2015

Wealthy people are less likely to take risks in philanthropy than in investment. But with encouragement,...

Paws for a cause: NSPCC's Paddington Trail

13 Mar 2015

Claire Hoyle explains how the NSPCC’s Paddington Trail fundraising campaign came about and shares...

Digital governance: the board, the internet and social media

13 Mar 2015

A British Council poll recently declared the invention of the internet the most momentous event of the...

Is social media a blessing or a curse?

12 Mar 2015

Social media is here to stay. Roberta Doyle weighs up the positive and negative aspects that trustees...

Data protection: What boards need to know

1 Mar 2015

As the number of fines increases, data protection is becoming an increasingly important issue for boards,...

Free eNews

Join the discussion


Attending our one day courses is a highly effective way of ensuring new and existing trustees fully understand their role, responsibilities and liabilities.

>> Find out more <<