Two thirds of the public think charities should keep Presidents Club money

30 Jan 2018 News

Two-thirds of the public think charities should keep donations from the Presidents Club Charitable Trust’s fundraising event, a poll has found, after widespread criticism last week over sexual harassment at the annual dinner. 

The Presidents Club has already said it will wind up, and a number of charities, including Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital Charity, have said they will return previous donations and refuse future ones. 

But a poll of over 1,600 adults by YouGov for NCVO has found that most members of the public are in favour of charities keeping the money

Some 67 per cent said that charities should keep the money, while 20 per cent said charities should give the donations back and 13 per cent said they did not know. 

Just over half of the people polled said that a charity refusing a donation would make no difference to their decision to donate in the future, while 20 per cent said they would be more likely to donate and 12 per cent said they would be less likely to donate. 14 per cent said they don’t know. 

‘Not a simple question’

Writing on NCVO’s blog, Aidan Warner, external relations manager at NCVO, said: “While on the face of it the results appear clear cut – the public are largely happy for charities to keep the money they got from the Presidents Club – that doesn’t mean the calculation for a charity is a simple one.”

He added that “one in five people thinking you’re doing the wrong thing is significant,” and suggested that these people’s attitudes may be held more strongly than those saying charities should keep the money.

“This isn’t to say that it’s right to follow their lead but it’s worth bearing in mind,” he said. “This is a decision for each charity’s trustees, and I don’t think there’s a wrong or right answer.

“It’s perfectly rational to err on the side of caution. Especially for household-name brands, their reputation is crucial to everything they do. It’s entirely reasonable for the likes of Great Ormond Street to conclude they’d rather be criticised for trying too hard to do the right thing than for not trying hard enough.” 

Last week David Ainsworth looked at the questions that the case of the Presidents Club has thrown up for charities and the Charity Commission has issued advice for charities considering handing back donations

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