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When people who say they are raising for charity are not ....

(23 Posts)
Ta1kinPeece Wed 18-Oct-17 22:32:23

Earlier in the year there were various threads
relating to heartbreaking family situations
where the protagonists of the campaigns said that they would donate any spare funds to a charity

in both of the high profile campaigns, the children sadly died

One of them has indeed set up a charity and has put it under joint control of a medical research team

The other has still not set up a charity
and is still selling online without apparent compliance with most of online fundraising rules
and in fact possibly just pocketing the cash

neither story is now "in the news"
but the millions of pounds raised that have not gone where the donors might have intended should be

how should such an issue be dealt with at this stage ?

NB No names = deliberate
Please only quote the names if you think that narrowing the issue will help

BubblesBuddy Thu 19-Oct-17 09:42:38

At some point it becomes fraud - one would have thought. If you state you are raising money for a certain cause but then divert the money, I think it's fraudulent. However how much money is still in the "Find Madeleine" fund and how is that being spent, other than on PR. How does anyone know? If money just sits there, I am not sure if that is fraud if it's not diverted into anything else.

Are these funds registered charities? They should be and then there are rules.

prh47bridge Thu 19-Oct-17 12:58:09

If money is raised for a charity it must go to the charity. They can't go on forever raising money and not spending it. However, it only becomes fraud if they spend it on something other than what was claimed when the money was raised.

The Find Madeleine fund is not a charity. It can't be because it is only about one child. They therefore cannot claim gift aid or any of the tax reliefs available to charities. You can get their accounts from Companies House or through sites like According to their most recent accounts they have net assets of £714.8k - this includes both fixed assets (i.e. things they have bought) and cash. Most of the money goes on investigative work to help find Madeleine McCann. Some goes on a wider "awareness campaign".

Ta1kinPeece Thu 19-Oct-17 13:30:08

The one I am referring to all happened in 2017
the money has been raised through "GoFundMe" and website sales

when the child died it was said that a "trust" would be set up up
but it has not ...

DonkeyOaty Thu 19-Oct-17 13:37:45

Go Fund Me type of fundraising has no strings attached to the money raised. The recipients can spend, or not, as they wish.

A donor has no say in disbursements.

There is no fraud if no charitable status.

pancakesunday Thu 19-Oct-17 13:41:10

I do know what you mean though. I had the same thought the other day about the money in one particular case this year. Would be interesting to know

Ta1kinPeece Thu 19-Oct-17 13:43:24

The sales / website page is still active
with no clear destination for the money
other than the personal use of the family

I do wonder whether they are registered for tax and vat and all that ....

prh47bridge Thu 19-Oct-17 15:27:12

Can't really comment further without knowing who we are talking about. In most high profile case I can think of this year (Bradley Lowery) the family is definitely acting legitimately. The funds are now with the Bradley Lowery Foundation which is a registered charity. It was set up less than two weeks after he died and became a registered charity about a month later.

pitterpatterrain Thu 19-Oct-17 15:28:51

We have a "charity shop" close to us that actually isn't a charity shop. I'm sure it happens in many places.

fluffydogs Thu 19-Oct-17 16:16:57

I was only thinking about this the other day, I can’t see anything online other than back in July they would set up a charity in the coming weeks.....

DonkeyOaty Thu 19-Oct-17 16:39:56

People have been bereaved. Let's not forget that. Try to not be unkind in your thoughts.

prh47bridge Thu 19-Oct-17 16:42:35

fluffydogs - If you are referring to Bradley Lowery, they did. The Bradley Lowery Foundation was set up on 19th July and became a registered charity on 22nd August.

Floralnomad Thu 19-Oct-17 16:46:03

Nobody is talking about Bradley Lowery , and anyone who uses a bit of thought knows exactly who this is aimed at .

TheFairyCaravan Thu 19-Oct-17 16:48:25

I know who you are talking about.

I think it was obvious that this was going to happen tbh. It's very much like the baby who was born abroad a couple of years ago, the parents did well out of that but the charity where the money was going to go didn't.

DonkeyOaty Thu 19-Oct-17 16:49:01

Why are you aiming at bereaved parents though? I've no idea who you're aiming at, btw; just a bit baffled as to why.

HughLauriesStubble Thu 19-Oct-17 16:56:18

This has been happening since the beginning of time, it's just that the advent of social media and constant connectiveness has made it more public when it does happen.

Imo using it surrpunding a dead child is exceptionally heartless.

RunningOutOfCharge Thu 19-Oct-17 17:07:05

I have no idea who this is about!

It’s worrying, but let’s remember that for most people, it comes from the heart and reaches those it’s intended to reach

I’m raising money for Stickler Syndrome support uk if anyone wants to pm me for the JustGiving page link! I’m genuine, I’d hate for us genuine fund raisers to be met with suspicion now

UnbornMortificado Thu 19-Oct-17 17:07:54

I live local to Bradley's family there is a registered charity set up.

lavenderlily Thu 19-Oct-17 17:13:58

Charlie Gard.

prh47bridge Thu 19-Oct-17 17:20:31

Nobody is talking about Bradley Lowery

I think fluffydogs was given the reference to statements made in July.

In the other high profile case I can think of (Charlie Gard) the parents are setting up a foundation. Given that he only died in late July I don't think they have taken an unduly long time. Bradley Lowery's parents did very well to get their charity set up as quickly as they did. Indeed, the speed suggests they actually started the process before he died. The Charity Commission usually take 40 days or more to decide on an application to register.

Ta1kinPeece Thu 19-Oct-17 18:05:21

My problem is that the one that has not yet set up a charity is actively trading through a website that breaches whole chunks of the Distance Selling Regulations
and they are not being at all clear what any funds will go to.

People gave a LOT of money in good faith that it would go to a "cause"
but there is little evidence that it will.

My concern is that poor behaviour / advice on the part of this case will damage the fundraising capacity of other cases.

prh47bridge Thu 19-Oct-17 19:40:22

The Distance Selling Regulations were replaced by the Consumer Contracts Regulations 3 years ago. If we are talking about who I think we are, they are not fully compliant in that they don't say how long it will take for goods to be delivered and they don't include a geographical address. Whilst I don't condone this, these are common failings. I can name a number of businesses that are no better. I would add that they could make the method of getting in contact easier to find, but at least that is present.

As for "little evidence that it will" go to a cause, I'm not sure what you expect. They cannot give a charity number yet - they haven't got one. And, until their charity is properly set up, they cannot say they are raising money for a registered charity. That would be a criminal offence.

They have stated clearly that they are setting up a foundation. At this stage there is no reason to disbelieve them. As I say, whilst the Charity Commission say they aim to process applications in 40 days, the reality is that it often takes longer. I have known it take the best part of a year for organisations that were already operating. They are starting from scratch. Bradley Lowery's parents clearly got started on setting up their charity some time before he died. Charlie Gard's parents don't appear to have decided to go down this route until a week or two after he died. It is far too soon to say the parents have been in any way dishonest.

Ta1kinPeece Thu 19-Oct-17 19:45:46

They also state that they will not accept returns.

I guess my bigger concern is that they were so incredibly badly advised in the summer I have little faith that they are being better advised now
and that the nature of the rabble that was roused will turn very harsh very quickly if the "foundation" does not get a lot of money
without an understanding that because of the commercial trading there will be VAT and tax and NI to pay.

The other family clearly had much better professional support.

It would be good to think that best practice would help prevent another media circus like the one in the summer.

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