Sense quiet on claims it has closed its corporate fundraising department

The deafblind charity declines to comment on claims that it has made the move with the loss of three jobs

The deafblind charity Sense has declined to comment on claims that it has closed down its corporate fundraising department with the loss of three jobs – despite announcing plans last year to focus on boosting its income from corporates.

A source told Third Sector that the charity, which works with people who are both deaf and blind, officially closed the department at the end of March.

The move is surprising because the charity’s former director of fundraising Alana Tubasei said in an interview last year that Sense hoped to grow its income from corporates and major donors from £9m to £12m by 2018.

The charity’s latest accounts for the year 2014/15 also state that a new fundraising board was established at the charity that year, involving a team of people working to develop Sense’s high value and corporate fundraising.

Third Sector’s source, who did not wish to be named, said Tubasei left her post at the helm of the charity’s fundraising function about a month ago to move into the new role of director of philanthropy.

The charity’s ongoing corporate accounts are now being handled by the events and community fundraising teams, the source said.

According to Sense’s website, these include the recruitment consultancy Primary Care People and the accountancy and legal consultancy Addlestrop Consulting.

A spokesman for Sense declined to confirm or deny the source’s claims.

He said in a statement: "We’re currently redeveloping the fundraising department. We will have a new director of fundraising starting in May who will be implementing a new vision in line with our new corporate strategy."

He declined to say why the charity had taken the decision to close its corporate fundraising department and whether this was due to underperformance. But he confirmed that the charity had made redundancies, which he said were part of the redevelopment of the wider department.

The webpage on corporate fundraising on Sense’s website is still active and the charity’s advertisement for a replacement for Tubasei, which closed in January, asks for candidates with experience in this area, as well as other types of fundraising. The spokesman said the identity of the new appointee would be revealed in due course.

The charity’s latest accounts state: "Fundraising remains a challenge, but the direct marketing campaigns we instigated in 2013/4, in both Sense and Sense Scotland, have helped maintain the growth in fundraising income, which has risen from £9m in 2013/14 to £9.4m in 2014/5."

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