The Institute of Fundraising (IoF) has released updated guidance on acceptance and refusal of donations to help trustees and fundraisers with their decisions.


The free guidance Acceptance, refusal, and return: A practical guide to dealing with donations builds on its earlier publication on the topic, and is intended to give charities further support as they prepare a consistent and considered strategy for potential risks in the future.


Stephanie Siddall, policy manager, Institute of Fundraising, said:


“Fundraisers understand the importance of making sure there is enough money and resource for their charity to be able to carry out its work. But, sometimes there are other considerations that can be more important – the value of donation may not always be worth the cost in terms of a potential loss of public trust and confidence, reputational damage or a conflict with the charity’s ethics, values and vision. These aren’t easy decisions, which is why this guidance is an important tool in supporting charities, fundraisers and trustees to know how to deal with these situations.”


The guide is aimed at anyone in charities involved in raising funds and making decisions on gift acceptance, and specifically covers the role and responsibility of trustees. It also sets out guidance on how to put together a policy on gift acceptance and refusal with examples of where charities might have to make difficult decisions.


Sarah Atkinson, director of policy, planning and communications, Charity Commission for England and Wales, added:


“We welcome this guidance from the Institute of Fundraising. It is, rightly, difficult for a charity to decide to refuse or return a donation – it will need all the money it can get and trustees are under a duty to use all the charity’s resources to further its aims for the public benefit. But there are some rare situations when trustees can properly decide that refusing or returning a donation is going to be in the charity’s best interests. We hope that this guidance will help charities understand those situations, and the rules and processes around them.”