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IoF introduces new rule and guidance about donations from vulnerable people

Fundraisers should not accept donations from people who appear unable to make an informed decision, and should return donations if they find evidence that a person lacked capacity when making them, according to new guidance from the Institute of Fundraising.

The guidance,Treating Donors Fairly, advises on implementing a new rule in the IoF Code of Fundraising Practice. The rule says fundraisers should treat all donors fairly, enable them to make informed decisions, and make sure the needs of people in vulnerable circumstances are taken into account.

The rule follows a Fundraising Standards Board adjudication in April on a complaint against the PDSA about the veterinary charity’s acceptance of accepted several large donations from a woman with schizophrenia. The FRSB did not uphold the complaint but asked the IoF to consider including advice on vulnerable donors in the code.

The guidance was launched today at the IoF’s Individual Giving Conference in London. It says some people in vulnerable circumstances might still have the capacity to donate, but might need additional support to help them make their decisions. This might include delaying acceptance of the gift, a cooling-off period to allow donors to change their minds, or suggesting that the donor gets advice from family or friends.

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