Vulnerable person policy

Vulnerable person policy

Fundraisers must take all reasonable steps to treat a donor fairly, enabling them to make an informed decision about any donation. This must include taking into account the needs of any potential donor who may be in a vulnerable circumstance or require additional care and support to make an informed decision. Fundraisers must not exploit the credulity, lack of knowledge, apparent need for care and support or vulnerable circumstance of any donor at any point in time.

We recognise that some of the people we engage with through our fundraising activities will not always have the capacity to fully understand the nature of the donation they are being asked to make to St Oswald’s, or the consequences of making that donation.

An individual who finds it difficult to immediately make an informed decision about the choices offered to them is called a ‘vulnerable person’.

A vulnerable person may experience:

  • a diagnosed condition such as dementia
  • a recent bereavement
  • an undiagnosed or temporary mental health condition such as severe anxiety
  • learning difficulties
  • difficulty understanding the language

St Oswald’s has an obligation to protect vulnerable people and those in vulnerable circumstances. Whenever we suspect that someone we engage with is lacking capacity or is in vulnerable circumstances – we call them a ‘vulnerable supporter’ – we will take steps to terminate the contact in a way which seeks to:

  • protect that person
  • protect their dignity
  • note any desire they have expressed to support St Oswald’s

St Oswald’s is compassionate towards its supporters and will never exploit vulnerability

  • we will always do everything we can to assist supporters to make informed decisions about the support they choose to give to St Oswald’s
  • we fully comply with the Fundraising Regulator’s Code of Fundraising Practice
  • when dealing with supporters via telephone, we follow guidance provided by the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), specifically: St Oswald’s only works with telephone fundraising professionals who agree and follow the DMA’s guidelines for call centres dealing with vulnerable consumers (August 2015)
  • St Oswald’s allows supporters or those acting on their behalf to declare vulnerability
  • St Oswald’s will not contact supporters with the aim of asking for an increase in their giving where the supporters’ records indicate a declaration of vulnerability
  • regardless of whether a declaration has been made or not, St Oswald’s does not accept donations where it has reason to believe that a supporter may be experiencing vulnerable circumstances and that accepting the donation would be ethically wrong and/or harmful to the donor
  • should a situation arise where St Oswald’s becomes aware that it has unknowingly accepted donations from an individual during a time that he or she was experiencing vulnerable circumstances, it will endeavour to return all donations accepted during this period
  • should St Oswald’s receive information regarding a supporter’s vulnerability from a third party, it will not act on any request to alter the supporters’ preferences unless the third party can provide evidence that he or she has authority to act on behalf of the supporter
  • if St Oswald’s becomes aware of a situation where a third-party agency acting on its behalf has not acted in accordance with this policy, it may stop working with the agency or ask that individual fundraisers responsible for non-compliance with the policy be removed from St Oswald’s campaigns

St Oswald’s recognises that it may sometimes be difficult for fundraisers to assess the vulnerability of a supporter; in cases where a fundraiser is unsure, they must ask their manager for a second opinion and approval to accept any donation.