9 July 2015
There has been media coverage this week about charity fundraising practice, with a number of allegations made against several leading national charities, including the British Red Cross.
Red Cross chief executive Mike Adamson said: "Please be assured that we are fully investigating those allegations made against the Red Cross. The behaviour of the trainers and supervisors filmed by the Daily Mail are absolutely unacceptable and we are deeply disappointed. While these investigations take place we have suspended working with the agency GoGen.
"The Red Cross expects the highest standards from our fundraisers and we hugely value all our supporters, without whom we couldn’t do our lifesaving work.
"It is unfortunately the case that there have been a number of inaccuracies in the media reporting. Mindful of our obligations to all those who support the work of the Red Cross, we have felt obliged to write to the Daily Mail, via our legal team, with regard to this.
We do not cold call people
"We can assure you we do not cold call people, as the Daily Mail has reported. We only contact people who have previously donated to the charity. Supporters will have been given notice that the Red Cross likes to keep in touch with those who donate, and will have been given a clear opportunity to opt-out from future contact.
"The article also states we are exploiting a legal 'loophole' - this is not the case. Our policies relating to contacting individuals who are registered with the Telephone Preference Service are in line with guidance published by both the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and the Institute of Fundraising.
"We will fully co-operate with any investigation that the ICO wishes to conduct in relation to this issue. We have sent them a letter warmly welcoming the opportunity to engage in dialogue to clarify any perceived ambiguities around the interpretation of the current rules.
"This is not only an issue for the Red Cross and will be common to many large fundraising charities. It is critical that we as the voluntary sector take every step necessary to retain the trust and confidence of the public. We are committed to playing a full and active part in any charity regulation discussions including the Institute of Fundraising’s review of fundraising standards this summer.
"We will undertake a thorough review of our telephone fundraising activity along with increasing our levels of call monitoring and training. We put significant amounts of time into ensuring that people who fundraise on our behalf are appropriately trained to ensure they meet our very high standards. We expect them to be ambassadors for the Red Cross.
"We are committed to ensuring we treat all our supporters sensitively and respectfully at all times, taking special care to protect vulnerable people. We never knowingly ask for donations from someone with dementia or Alzheimer’s.
"An article in Wednesday’s Daily Mail included comments of a personal nature about our Director of Fundraising, Mark Astarita OBE. Mark is a hugely committed fundraiser who raised £165 million last year to help millions of people in crisis both in the UK and overseas. He manages 900 staff and more than 10,000 volunteers and has almost trebled Red Cross income during the last 12 years.
"His salary is published on our website, along with all our senior staff, to be as transparent and accountable as possible. Pay is set by a committee made up of volunteers and trustees. It is fair and appropriate for the roles and responsibilities undertaken to deliver our charitable aim of refusing to ignore people in crisis.
"Thank you to our volunteers, staff and supporters for everything that you do.”