Diabetes Australia Strengthens Its Fundraising Procedures after "Ferguson" Incident
28 September 2009 at 3:39 pm
Diabetes Australia says it will review its fundraising procedures after it was revealed in NSW that a convicted paedophile, Dennis Ferguson was found selling its Buzz Day fundraising merchandise for the charity.
The incident was reported when Ferguson, who has been in an eviction battle with residents in the Sydney suburb of Ryde, was seen selling pens and magnets and a toy item called a ‘buzzy bee’, as part of the charities fundraising efforts.
Sydney News media including the Daily Telegraph and News.com reported that Ferguson aged 61, had ordered the goods from Diabetes Australia using his middle name Ray and he was selling them without the mandatory permit and police approval to collect donations in public spaces.
In a statement released by Diabetes Australia NSW, Fundraising Manager Mark Hindle confirmed that a volunteer identifying himself as Ray Ferguson ordered the merchandise and paid for the items from the sale of one box of merchandise via a deposit into the charity’s bank account.
He says when Ferguson contacted the organisation under the name of Ray Ferguson asking to sell our merchandise on behalf of a company, they had no reason to believe anything untoward was happening nor do they have any evidence that anything untoward has happened in relation to him selling the merchandise.
He says while they have no evidence to suspect this person has done anything wrong in relation to selling Buzz Day merchandise, they have informed the police about the information provided to them.
Hindle says the organisation is naturally concerned about this issue and will be reviewing its procedures for future fundraising activities and Diabetes Australia – NSW relies on volunteers, like every charity, to function properly.
Hindle says meanwhile, Buzz Day remained Diabetes Australia-NSW’s largest fundraiser of the year.
Brett Collins who is an advocate for Ferguson from the Not for Profit advocacy group Justice Action is reported as saying his organisation tried to discourage Ferguson from doing volunteer work because they felt he may be falsely accused of something.
Collins is also reported as saying Ferguson suffers from diabetes and has previously worked as a volunteer for a number of organisations.