News International has shut the doors of tabloid newspaper, News of the World, following claims of phone-hacking. Free advertising space for last Sunday’s final edition of the paper was offered to charities, a number of whom rejected the offer, including The Salvation Army, the RSPCA, Care International, and Water Aid.
On 8 July, the Institute of Fundraising issued a statement to its members to remind them that charities ought to bear in mind the Acceptance or Refusal of Donations Code of Fundraising Practice guidance before making a decision as to whether to take advantage of the advertising opportunity. The Code states that a clear policy on the acceptance or refusal of donations is important for all charitable organisations. Such a policy needs to be acceptable to all those associated with the charity and agreed formally by a charity’s trustees. The decision as to whether a charity ought to accept a donation or not should be grounded in its mission and policy objectives.
The Charity Commission emphasised that “it is the responsibility of a charity’s trustees to ensure that any fundraising, including the acceptance of donations, is in the best interests of the charity”. In light of their duty to act in the best interests of the charity, trustees should assess the advantages and disadvantages of new opportunities to fundraise, including any potential risks to the charity and its beneficiaries.
The Disasters Emergency Committee, which launched a drought appeal for East Africa on 8 July, accepted the offer of a free advert, commenting that there was a “humanitarian imperative” for it to raise the maximum income to help those affected by the drought.