In recent months, the issue of what is deemed to be ‘acceptable behaviour’ of fundraisers, has hit the headlines again.
It has been revealed that Cancer Research recently entered into talks with one of its corporate partners after it was discovered that scantily clad women were employed as ‘ring girls’ at charity boxing matches.
During the events, organised by Ultra White Collar Boxing, the girls were pictured wearing leotards and fishnet tights, holding Charity Research collecting buckets.
It follows the scandal of the men-only Presidents Club fundraising dinners which caused outrage after an FT investigation revealed hostesses at the event were groped, sexually harassed and propositioned.
Smaller charities have also found themselves confronted by the issue of unacceptable fundraiser behaviour. In Wales, the hospital charity, Cuddles, refused to accept a £1,000 donation after discovering that fundraisers who took part in a fancy dress pub crawl had ‘blacked up’ as beach salesmen and rappers.
After images of some of the fundraisers, who had applied black face paint to their arms and faces, were circulated on social media, the Old Colwyn-based charity said it would not accept the money, because it did not want to be associated with “racist, discriminatory, or abusive” behaviour.
In 2017, another hospital charity refused to accept a £2,500 donation after an annual public bucket shake saw men dressed as female nurses.
Administrators at Ludlow Hospital branded the fundraisers’ costumes “insulting” highly-sexualised and “demeaning”.
Following these and other fundraising issues, the Institute of Fundraising (IOF) took steps to address the problem of unacceptable behaviour. Its publication, ‘Safety and Safeguarding in Fundraising’, looks at the issues thoroughly and provides advice to both fundraisers and charity trustees.
In response to the Presidents Club scandal, Ceri Edwards, the IOF’s Director of Engagement & External Affairs, commented: “All fundraisers know that their conduct must be respectful at all times and adhere to the Code of Fundraising Practice.
“We have been very clear that there is no place for this kind of behaviour in our sector. If we see it again we must call it out.”