Charity Forced to Apologise to Keep Registration
14 March 2006 at 12:03 pm
A national charity, the Children’s Cancer Institute Australia for Medical Research (CCIA) has been forced to make a public apology for misleading donors, but has kept its registration to fundraise in Victoria after agreeing to a series of strict undertakings.
Consumer Affairs Victoria says the charity has signed a court enforceable undertaking that will give Victorian donors more accurate and timely details of its fundraising activities,
Dr David Cousins, Director of Consumer Affairs Victoria says that after an investigation by his department CCIA has agreed to strict conditions so that it can remain registered and compliant with the Fundraising Appeals Act 1998.
The investigation into CCIA’s fundraising activities followed consumer complaints about a February 2005 fundraising dinner held in Melbourne. The British Prime Minister’s wife Cherie Blair QC was the guest speaker at the event.
Only 8.2%, or $15 800, of the gross appeal proceeds from the event was distributed to CCIA beneficiaries. In the application to register CCIA had claimed that 60% of total funds raised would be dispersed.
The conditions imposed upon CCIA by the enforceable undertaking include:
– To inform Consumer Affairs Victoria prior to the commencement of any fundraising appeal within Victoria and provide relevant information in relation to the proposed fundraising appeal;
– To provide Consumer Affairs Victoria with audited accounts for all fundraising appeals conducted in Victoria, for the next five years;
– To prominently display in all solicitations, either written or oral, the percentage of gross appeal proceeds budgeted to be distributed, or available to be distributed to the identified beneficiary;
– CCIA will take steps to ensure that complete financial records, which can be independently verified, will be maintained; and
– CCIA will prominently display a public apology on their website for 12 months.
In addition CCIA has a condition imposed on its fundraising registration that the total fees, charges and expenses levied by the fundraiser shall not exceed 40% of the total funds raised.
Consumer Affairs Victoria says that CCIA will be implementing significant and extensive new systems and procedures to ensure that it maintains a greater level of control in all future fundraising appeals.
Consumer Affairs Victoria received information alleging that CCIA had breached this condition, in conducting a dinner on 10 February 2005, at which Cherie Blair appeared.
In information obtained from CCIA, Consumer Affairs Victoria confirmed that the total gross fundraising appeal proceeds raised were $192,114.51.