Controversy abounds over Mike Tyson and his on/off visit as a motivational speaker, should or shouldn’t he be allowed into the country is a decision only Immigration can really make – sure their decision could be overruled by the Minister of Immigration, as has happened already. I’m not going to get into the legal issues, or his right or otherwise to come here.
Instead lets look at how charities need to be mindful of how they connect with others, what background checks they do, and what checks and balances they have in place for others working with or for an organisation who might put the welcome mat out to support an event.
Tyson’s visit to speak is being organized by a promoter and it would seem that a well meaning volunteer for an organization offered the welcome mat and further offered support by way of a letter supporter his application for a visitors visa; whether they had the right to send the letter is an internal matter, and one would hope rules and systems are being looked at to prevent anything like this happening again.
Sure, some would say his (Tyson’s) visit would benefit a charity, but what needs to be looked at is ‘alignment’ – does the person have the good character, morals to be associated? Forget about whether someone has served time or been punished in some way for what they have done in the past, what needs considering is whether supporters (present and future) will continue their support long after the event has been held and the money been banked.
It would seem in this case that the letter went out by an over zealous supporter, a volunteer Trustee, it would seem that the message from the governing board that they weren’t in support of the association didn’t get passed down the chain so that all who may have responsibilities for fundraising knew where the Trust stood.
If you’re a small, or a single location organization it’s a lot easier to manage things, but when you have branches, affiliate offices elsewhere that have their own fundraising responsibilities it’s important that a clear fundraising guideline be in place.
Without a guideline people involved in promotion and fundraising can run amok – do you want your organization to be the next to hit the headlines over an over zealous supporter agreeing to something that your organization should perhaps steer clear of? If not, then dust off your internal procedures manual, flick to your communication and fundraising section and update it. If you don’t have a guideline now is the time to be thinking of putting on together – hop to it.