Children’s charity the NSPCC saw almost 200 cancelled donations in the same week it was involved in a furore over its relationship with the transgender activist Munroe Bergdorf, Third Sector has found.
Figures supplied to Third Sector reveal that between 7 and 14 June there were 183 more cancelled donations than in a comparable week in May.
The charity was the subject of a social media backlash at the beginning of the month after deciding to cut ties with Bergdorf, days after it was announced that she would be the new LGBT+ ambassador for the NSPCC’s Childline service.
The decision to hire Bergdorf was met with criticism from some corners, including the gender-critical Times columnist Janice Turner, who in a tweet accused Bergdorf of being a "porn model" and asked whether the move was worth "cancelled direct debits".
On Friday 7 June, the charity released a statement saying Bergdorf would have "no ongoing relationship with Childline or the NSPCC", prompting widespread outrage from the LGBT+ community and causing almost 150 members of staff at the charity to pen an open letter condemning the move.
In a social media statement, Bergdorf accused the charity of bowing to "anti-LGBT hate and overt transphobia" and requested that her supporters make a donation to Mermaids, the charity that supports transgender and gender diverse children and their parents.
In the same week, a spokesperson for Mermaids told Third Sector they did not want to comment on decisions made by another charity, but said: "We have been completely bowled over by another extraordinary wave of public generosity in the last few days, with an estimated 300 per cent increase in donations since the weekend [8 June]."
Peter Wanless, chief executive of the NSPCC, released a statement of apology on 12 June, saying the charity "shouldn’t have cut ties with Munroe Bergdorf in the way we did."
The NSPCC could not confirm how many of the cancelled donations between 7 and 14 June were connected to the row over Bergdorf, saying the charity always experienced natural fluctuations on a weekly and monthly basis.
However, they said the number of cancellations in the month of June had been 5 per cent more than the same period in May.
In an interview with The Guardian after the apology from Wanless, Bergdorf asked people not to cancel their donations to the charity.
"I really want to stress that the people I worked with are doing a great job and I would urge people not to cancel their direct debits out of outrage, because that just hurts the kids that contact Childline," she said.
"If you have contacted Childline and cancelled that debit, then reinstate it."
An NSPCC spokesperson said: "We are always grateful to all those who have supported us in our fight for every childhood."