Guide Dogs has told all seven of its major donor fundraising staff that they are at risk of redundancy only months after the team was expanded.
Trustees agreed to expand its major donors team in November to fund its work with children and young people. But in April, Guide Dogs acquired the National Blind Children’s Society and it has since decided to deliver all of its services for children and young people through the children’s charity, resulting in a review of its fundraising structure.
A spokeswoman for Guide Dogs confirmed that all seven staff in the major donor team had been informed that their jobs were at risk of redundancy and the team would be reduced to just one post.
Separately, a source at Guide Dogs, who wishes to remain anonymous, told Third Sector that four of those at risk of redundancy were only recruited between April and June this year.
The source said that the new members of the team were given assurances at the time they were recruited that Guide Dogs was committed to its major donors programme.
"People gave up good jobs to join Guide Dogs," the source said. "Those affected feel really let down. Guide Dogs has acted in a manner that is morally wrong – it’s not the sort of behaviour you expect from a top-10 charity."
The source added that the charity had, in effect, wasted donors’ money by spending on a major donor strategy that has now been set aside, and by recruiting new team members only to make them redundant a few months later.
Jayne George, director of fundraising and marketing at Guide Dogs, said in a statement: "Guide Dogs is currently undertaking a restructure of the major donor function and a number of roles are being reviewed, subject to consultation with staff. All members of staff in our major donors team are continuing to work on existing projects while this process takes place."
"The acquisition of NBCS resulted in a new fundraising strategy and the review of a number of roles," she said. "The aim of the proposals is to better enable us to raise funds and change the lives of children and young people with sight loss."
George said that no final decisions on the changes would be made until a consultation with staff was completed. "We appreciate this is a very difficult time for the staff involved and we are supporting them in any way we can, including priority status for any internal jobs, independent advice on job searching and counselling support," she said.