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A complaint about event fundraising: Mr N

The complaint

A charity was showing only the Gift Aid entry price to an event on their website, and not the Standard entry price. Mr N found this to be “misleading” because visitors would expect to pay the higher price.

Our findings

We found that displaying only Gift Aid pricing on the website advertising the event was “misleading.”

We found that by having an “opt out” approach to Gift Aid admissions the charity was not taking all reasonable steps to treat donors fairly.

We found that the charity are not adhering to all the conditions for claiming Gift Aid.

We found that the charity’s response to Mr N’s response was not timely.

Our recommendations

The charity informed us that it will ensure that its pricing information for future events would be much clearer. It told us that it will put in place a revised sign off process for Gift Aid-related activity. The charity also said that it will review and improve their escalation processes about such complaints in future. Had it not made this commitment, we would have made similar recommendations.

We recommended that the charity review the “opt out method” for Gift Aid admissions, in light of this decision.

We also recommended that the charity contact HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) about their “opt out method” and the agreement that they say they have from HMRC to only display Gift Aid pricing on printed marketing and publicity materials, to ensure that their actions are compliant with Gift Aid rules.

Finally, we recommended that the charity provide Mr N with an apology.

The charity accepted our findings and recommendations.