Name and type of organisation: JNF Charitable Trust (JNF) (registered charity no. 225910)
Fundraising method: Digital (online)
Code themes examined: Misleading information and complaint handling
Code breach? No
We received a complaint that omissions in the information provided by JNF (the charity) on its website were likely to mislead some people. The individuals had concerns about the charity’s description of its work in a region of Israel and the humanitarian situation in this region. The complainants considered that the charity’s work was connected to the Israeli armed forces and they questioned information on its website about its relationship with another organisation in Israel, called JNF/KKL.
The charity’s website explained that it would focus its work on a specific region of Israel as it is politically uncomplicated and therefore its philanthropic focus would not engage matters of political controversy. However, the complainants drew our attention to external sources of information, which suggested this region was in fact an area of political tension.
The complainants were also concerned that the charity’s description of a project on its website was misleading as it did not disclose the extent to which the project was associated with the Israeli armed forces. We reviewed this wording in detail and conducted further online research into the project to consider its transparency.
We were also provided with a document from the complainants which suggested a close relationship between a separate organisation, JNF/KKL. The charity confirmed that the document was accurate. The complainants were concerned that the charity’s website was misleading as it included a statement that said it operated independently of JNF/KKL. The charity gave us details of how it and JNF/KKL had acted since the date of the agreement.
We found that the charity had not breached the Code of Fundraising Practice (the code).
We looked at particular references made by the charity about its work that were highlighted to us by the complainants. We considered that these statements had been taken out of context and were simply stating the charity’s rationale for focusing its activities in a specific region. We considered it was not relevant whether the charity’s view was misguided or not, and that a factual statement about its rationale was not misleading.
We also considered that the information about the project on the charity’s website was clear about its purpose of preparing people for service with the Israeli military. The charity had given a lot of detail as to the background and connection to the military and therefore the information was not misleading or likely to mislead.
The charity provided information about its agreement with JNF/KKL that satisfied us that the charity’s statements were not misleading or likely to mislead. It was able to support its assertion of independence from JNF/KKL. It provided figures about the proportion of its projects that were JNF/KKL proposals; the proportion of its funding that had gone to JNF/KKL projects; and the extent to which, in the past, it had sent funds to projects through JNF/KKL.
We also concluded that the information available on the website gave donors enough information to reach an informed decision.
There are no actions for the charity.