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Investigation decision on Neet Feet announced

The Fundraising Regulator, independent regulator tasked with restoring public confidence in fundraising, has today released its investigation decision on Neet Feet, the former Bristol-based fundraising agency.

The decision finds several instances where Neet Feet breached the Fundraising Regulator’s Code of Fundraising Practice (the code). It also finds that seven charities of the charities who engaged Neet Feet breached the code.

The investigation followed allegations made against Neet Feet on 10th July 2016 by The Sun newspaper. As part of the decision, the Fundraising Regulator reviewed six hours of video footage compiled by The Sun.

Neet Feet breached six sections of the code, with the decision noting that Neet Feet fundraisers were derogatory to the public, accepted donations from vulnerable people, were unreasonably persistent and misleading in pressuring donors, fundraised under the influence of alcohol and drugs, and did not employ best efforts to ensure donors were over the age of 18.

"Fundraisers deliberately intimidated, misled and targeted the vulnerable. Actions like this sully fundraising and damage the reputation of the entire sector."

The decision also found that seven charities did not employ all reasonable efforts to ensure that Neet Feet fundraised for them in compliance with the code. The charities are:

  • Action for Children
  • Home Farm Trust
  • Royal National Institute of the Blind (RNIB)
  • Save the Children
  • Smile Train
  • United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)
  • World Animal Protection

The Children’s Trust also contracted with Neet Feet. The Regulator is satisfied that all reasonable efforts were made by the Trust to ensure that Neet Feet adhered to the code.

The decision concluded that charities seemed to be disproportionately focused on how much money was raised rather than how it was raised. It says that more attention could, and should, have been paid to the experience of the donor.

The Regulator has made recommendations directly to the charities involved. It has asked that the Chief Executives of these charities update the Regulator within three months to confirm the action taken.

Lord Grade of Yarmouth, Chair of the Fundraising Regulator, said: “The practices undertaken by Neet Feet fell far short of the ethical and respectful standards we expect. Fundraisers deliberately intimidated, misled and targeted the vulnerable. Actions like this sully fundraising and damage the reputation of the entire sector.

“Seven of the eight charities that engaged Neet Feet should have done more to specify contractual obligations and monitor compliance. While we recognise that charities are under financial pressure, the donor experience must always come first. If donors are treated badly, beneficiaries will suffer.”