Have only come across this a couple of times, but it may happen more than I’ve seen.
Actually, from memory there have been times where people have been seen out on the street with buckets or clipboards asking for support for some charitable cause; only for it to be later discovered that it was for a group/organisation that had no charitable status (they stated that they were a registered charity).
If you’re approached by someone saying they’re fundraising or seeking support in other ways for a charitable cause; make sure they are registered, ask for proof, if they’re out in public they are meant to have certain information with them – and one piece of information should be proof of their charitable status i.e. charity number. If they don’t have this – walk away.
Recently I have seen an organisation seeking support and, also talking about the support that have gained; in their “storytelling” they have said that they are a Charitable Trust, but in looking they have no charitable status with Charity Services.
I know that this organisation has no registration, they applied to be registered but withdrew or cancelled their registration for some reason.
Not only can “organisations” acting in this way have the potential to impact negatively on the charity sector as a whole, it can impact on those who “endorse” them.
When an organisation trots out people or businesses saying that they are ambassadors or the like; and have those people front for it, the potential for them to have their “brand” tarnished is real.
So, if a word of or two of caution:
Check the charitable status of any organisation that approaches you for support.
Ask for details about how your support will help, who benefits, what it costs for them to administer their organisation.
If you’re approached to be an ambassador, or show your support for an organisation, do the above, but also check what visibility the organisation has, do some background checks.
What’s been in the media about the organisation, has there been any negative articles published?
Check the Trustees, who are they, what do they do apart from being a name with the organisation, you can easily use LinkedIn, Facebook etc for this.
Ask around, ask people you know if they know anything about the organisation, it’s Trustees etc.
So, keep alert, ask questions before supporting.
Remember it only takes one bad apple to ruin the lot.