Philanthropic giving should be a positive experience for all. We recognise that some people we engage with through our fundraising activity may lack the capacity, at the point of the interaction, to fully understand the nature of the donation they may be considering, or the consequences of making that donation. We also understand that individuals may have the capacity to make a decision, but may be vulnerable at that moment in time and will require further support or information before making an informed decision about whether to make a donation.
Whenever we suspect that someone we engage with is lacking capacity we will take steps to terminate any fundraising discussions immediately and in such a way which seeks to protect that person while respecting their dignity and any desire they have expressed to support us. We recognise that everyone has the right to support their favourite causes and charities but we also recognise that we have an obligation to protect those who lack the capacity to make an informed decision.
All individuals may, at some stage in their life, be considered vulnerable or require additional care and support, depending on their own personal circumstances, health, bereavements, life events and more. Whenever a fundraiser suspects that a person may be vulnerable, our approach is to suspend the fundraising discussions and provide any additional support required. Additional support may include: delaying acceptance of the gift to give the donor further time to consider their donation; including a ‘cooling off’ period if the donor changes his or her mind; or suggesting the donor gets advice from family/friends.
Despite our best efforts to protect those lacking capacity or in vulnerable circumstances, we may still inadvertently receive an unsolicited donation where subsequently there may be a question over the donor’s capacity to make that donation. In this circumstance, we may return the donation to the donor or under certain circumstances to a family member or designated person. An example would be where a donor is suffering from Alzheimer’s and makes a donation to us without understanding the financial impact of their decision.