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Candy Cane Rescue: December 2019

Name and type of organisation: Candy Cane Rescue (registered charity no. 1179928) an animal rescue charity

Topic of the complaint: social media fundraising

Code themes examined: fundraising for a restricted purpose and treating donors fairly

Code breach? Yes

The complaint

The complainant said that Candy Cane Rescue (the charity) was not being open when fundraising as they had seen a Facebook appeal that stated “Ok so I need to raise just over 10k. I can’t say really what it’s for until I get the amount. I know this is very vague but please trust me it’s worth it and will say [sic] lots of lives born in china but also help us to put more pressure on the campaign to stop the export of Irish dogs to China.”

The complainant was concerned that the charity was not being clear on what the money was being used for. As the complainant wanted to remain anonymous to the charity, we raised their concerns with the charity and the complainant remained dissatisfied with the response.

What happened?

The charity was attempting to raise £10,000 to help rescue an Irish dog that had been exported to China. The charity did not include this information in its fundraising appeal as it thought that making this information public would stop the dog being sold to them.

The appeal failed to raise the target amount and the charity had to rely on a loan from a member of the public to purchase the dog.

The charity used the money raised by the appeal to partially repay the loan.

Our decision

We found that the charity provided potential donors with enough information within its social media post to enable them to make an informed decision. On this basis, we found that it treated donors fairly and did not breach the Code of Fundraising Practice (the code).

We also found that although the appeal itself failed, in using the money raised to pay back the loan, the money was used for the cause it was donated for.

Finally, we found that Candy Cane Rescue did not make it clear to donors what would happen should it fail to reach or exceed the amount needed for the fundraising appeal. On this basis, we found that it had breached a section of the code dealing with restricted donations.

Recommendations

The charity has already taken steps to ensure that its fundraising materials include a statement to say what will happen should it exceed or fail to meet an appeal target and in doing so will prevent a similar breach of the code. Therefore, we have not made any recommendations in this regard.

We recommended that, when fundraising for a restricted purpose, the charity advises potential donors of how they can indicate that their donations are for a specific appeal.   We recommended that the charity implement a system for recording future donations that it receives for a restricted purpose.

Outcome

We asked Candy Cane Rescue to write to us within one month of the date of our final decision to outline the actions taken in response to our findings and recommendations.