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Investigation into The President’s Club

An investigation into the President’s Club Charitable Trust follows reports of the behaviour alleged to have taken place in January of this year. Our investigation sought to establish whether the President’s Club had appropriate systems in place to commission and monitor fundraising undertaken on its behalf.

We saw no evidence that the charity intentionally ignored the Code. However, we were disappointed to see that the President’s Club and its trustees had little awareness of the expectations around fundraising, namely those outlined in the Code of Fundraising Practice.

We concluded that the charity did not have a process in place to monitor the activities of the third party that organised and staffed the event. This was a breach of the Code.

The Fundraising Regulator has not made specific recommendations in this case because the charity has said it is going to close. We think this case highlights important lessons for other charities, particularly regarding the duties of trustees, which is why we are putting the report into the public domain. We hope this will remind organisations, particularly registered charities, of their obligations and the guidance that is available to them when fundraising.

Whether charities are large or small trustees have the same obligations to ensure they are aware of their responsibilities and best practice when fundraising. A key lesson from this case is that, even for a charity that holds a single, annual, fundraising event, there is the same necessity to comply with the requirements and best practice set out in the Code.

Gerald Oppenheim, Chief Executive of the Fundraising Regulator, said:

“The public has a right to expect that fundraising is conducted in a clear and transparent manner, meeting the highest ethical standards. This can be blurred when charities commission third parties, however it is the charity’s responsibility to ensure that these parties meet the Code of Fundraising Practice.”