Yes, shock horror, there are times when a donation may have to be returned; and the reasons could be many.

As I’m not a legal expert on this, if you need anything clarified do seek legal advice.

Here’s a scenario, someone donates to your organisation – perhaps it was a vehicle, there were certain provisos made when the donation was given; for some reason the donor feels that these have not been met and requests the return of the vehicle. How do you deal with this?

Requesting the return of a donation is a serious matter. For example, if the vehicle donated has to be returned – but the charity has already sold it – how will the charity make good?

More common though is likely to be when someone has made a donation, perhaps forgotten and made a second donation; they want the second one refunded.

This can be tricky on a number of fronts, accounting, legal, administrative and like the potential return of a vehicle or other, there’s a PR perspective to take into consideration too.

I guess the first thing to do is take a deep breath, gather your thoughts and not make any knee-jerk reaction. A clear head is what is needed.

My first action would be to pick up the phone and call the person requesting the refund; a letter or email just won’t cut it. A personal call could reverse the donors request.

Perhaps there’s been some misunderstanding, perhaps you could help them to see how their erroneous donation could help right now. It’s important that you don’t come across pushy or desperate, be genuine at all times.

When was the last time you were asked to refund a donation, what did you do?

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