Trustee entered shielding donor's home despite 'heated exchange' beforehand, regulator finds

A charity has agreed to review its fundraising approach after a trustee entered a vulnerable donor’s house to collect a cheque after a "heated exchange", according to the Fundraising Regulator.

The Asian Foundation for Help, which supports people in Asian and developing countries, was found to have breached the Code of Fundraising Practice after an investigation, according to a report published by the regulator this week.

The regulator said it had received a complaint from someone who was unhappy that a trustee of the charity visited their home to collect a cheque from an elderly relative, whom they considered to be vulnerable and was shielding because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The complainant was also unhappy that the charity had made the visit during the outbreak.

The regulator said: “The elderly relative was a long-term supporter of the charity and they wanted to donate to it via cheque.

“They called the charity to arrange collection of the cheque. However, this request was not actioned immediately.

“Meanwhile, the complainant spoke to the charity to explain that their relative was suffering from poor health and they considered them to be vulnerable.”

A few months later, a trustee of the charity turned up at the house to collect the cheque, which the regulator said led to a "heated exchange" between the trustee and the complainant.

But the trustee still entered the property to collect the cheque, the regulator found.

When the complainant took their complaint to the charity, it maintained it had not done anything wrong by collecting the cheque.

It also made disparaging remarks about the complainant, according to the regulator, which resulted in the charity refunding the donation.

The regulator concluded that by failing to reconsider whether it was appropriate to collect the cheque, after being informed of the elderly relative’s poor health, the trustee failed to consider the needs of a vulnerable donor.

The regulator said the charity had agreed to its recommendations to introduce guidelines for trustees and volunteers on dealing with vulnerable donors. It also said it had recommended the charity improve its handling of complaints.

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