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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

New guidance is needed for approaching elderly donors

This news post is about 10 years old

​The Fundraising Standards Board is calling on the Institute of Fundraising to tighten its guidance after complaint

The trustees had concluded there was no evidence to suggest the donor had been pressured to give or that the charity had known she was vulnerable

Additional guidance for fundraisers approaching elderly and vulnerable people for donations should be created by the Institute of Fundraising (IoF).

The Fundraising Standards Board (FRSB) made the recommendation following a complaint against the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) by the family of an elderly woman with schizophrenia, who has since died.

Her family said the charity had “knowingly taken advantage” of their mother in accepting donations. They said that her mental health was fragile and she had never expressed a particular affection for animals or charitable giving.

They now want the charity to refund her donations.

While an adjudication ruling published by the FRSB didn’t uphold the complaint, it recommended the IoF code should include a new section on working with the elderly and specific guidance on identifying vulnerable adults.

The PDSA itself launched an internal investigation following the complaint. It revealed the donor had been a PDSA service user since 2005 and had given several high-value donations to the charity over a 14-month period.

The PDSA board of trustees found no evidence to suggest the donor had been pressured to give or that the charity had known she was vulnerable.