Regulator criticises JustGiving’s complaints handling

The online fundraising platform is one of a number of charities and associated organisations found to be in breach of the Fundraising Regulator’s code.

Joe Lepper | 19th Sep 19
Logo of Fundraising Regulator

Online fundraising platform JustGiving has been criticised by the Fundraising Regulator for its handling of a complaint about Gift Aid.

The investigation is one of a number into charitable organisations published by the Fundraising Regulator as part of its quarterly update.

The regulator found that JustGiving was in breach of the Code of Fundraising “as it failed to properly respond to the complaint.”

The case details how the person complaining said that JustGiving had incorrectly removed Gift Aid from their recent donation.

But when they made the complaint the fundraising website failed to initially explain why gift Aid had been removed or how it could be re-applied, states the regulator. The complainant by JustGiving that Gift Aid can be removed for a number of different reasons and that it only has 12 hours to amend Gift Aid on donations.

 

Improvements in complaint handling

The Fundraising regulator found that while JustGiving investigated the complaint “promptly” it failed to deal with the issue when it was initially raised by the complainant.

“It did not properly respond to the complainant as it failed to initially tell the complainant why Gift Aid had been removed and why they should ask for their donation to be refunded,” said the regulator.

> See also: JustGiving removes platform fees for UK charities

“We also found that JustGiving failed to inform the complainant that they could contact the charity and advise them of their ability to claim Gift Aid on the donation if the charity wished to claim it. For this reason, we found that Just Giving breached the code, as it failed to properly respond to the complaint.”

However, the regulator found that JustGiving had not beached its code in relation to learning from previous complaints, but has recommended it improve its complaints handling.

“We recommended that JustGiving reviews the learning from this complaint and considers what action it needs to undertake to improve its complaint handling,” said the regulator.

“In particular, we recommended that JustGiving reviews how it investigates complaints about Gift Aid removal and information provided to complainants.”

The regulator adds that JustGiving has accepted its findings and recommendations.

A total of ten investigations were published as part of the regulator’s latest update. Among those found in breach of the regulator’s code are  The Salvation Army, Transformation for Veterans, Clothes Aid, Personal Fundraising Services, Leukemia Care, Bliss, East London Textiles and Associated Country Women of the World.

 

Transparency

The Fundraising Regulator’s Head of Casework Catherine Orr said: “We think it’s right that we name all the organisations we investigate, so that we promote and support a culture of ethical fundraising, allow the public, donors and potential donors to make informed decisions when they choose to donate to charity, and ensure we are transparent in our investigations process.”

> See also: JustGiving completes Fundraising Regulator Code sign up

“This brings our investigation work in line with that of other regulators such as the Charity Commission which names the organisations that it investigates.”

“Where a charity or third-party agency has breached the Code of Fundraising Practice, there is an opportunity for organisations to learn from the recommendations we have made. We will state clearly where organisations have agreed to comply with our recommendations for improvement. Where we find that a breach has not occurred, we want to show this in positive light and share examples of good practice.”

JustGiving has been contacted for comment.