The Fundraising Standards Board has ruled that the children’s charity Childreach International did not breach fundraising guidance when it refused to refund an event participant’s deposit for a fundraising event he did not take part in.
The FRSB said the unnamed man pulled out of the event after it became clear he would not be able to raise the minimum fundraising target of £2,440 for the charity’s Climb Kilimanjaro for Kids event, which had also been rescheduled. He raised £1,729, which went to the charity after supporters indicated they were happy for Childreach to keep their donations even if he did not complete the event.
The adjudication, made by the FRSB board and published today, says that on registering for the event last year the complainant had paid a £220 deposit. Soon afterwards, the charity contacted participants to inform them that the date of the event had been changed, offering to refund their deposit if this meant they could no longer take part. The complainant did not take this up at the time.
Six months later, the complainant contacted the charity to say that he could not take part in the event because he had not raised the minimum fundraising target of £2,440, and he asked for his deposit back.
The charity declined to refund the deposit, saying the terms and conditions for the event stated it was non-refundable, but asked whether he wanted to take part in the 2012 event instead. He declined this offer.
The complainant asked the FRSB to consider the complaint at board level after he had failed to resolve the matter with the charity.
The adjudication says the FRSB board looked at whether the charity had been "fair and reasonable" – a requirement of the Funding Promise – or had breached the Institute of Fundraising’s Codes of Practice. It found that the charity had been fully compliant with all guidance.
Colin Lloyd, chair of the FRSB, said the charity had acted reasonably. "This case highlights the importance of participants thoroughly reading through their obligations before signing on the dotted line," he said.
A spokeswoman for Childreach International said the charity was pleased with the result.