UK Online Giving Website Suspended
17 July 2013 at 1:07 pm
The operations of an online giving website, Charitygiving.co.uk, have been suspended by the UK Charity Commission.
The Charity Commission says the suspension has been carried out in order to protect funds the public has raised and prevent further charitable pledges being made via the website whilst the the Commission’s investigation continues.
“The action was taken by the charity’s interim manager after careful consideration and consultation with the Charity Commission as part of the Commission’s statutory inquiry into The Dove Trust. CharityGiving is an online fundraising portal run by The Dove Trust which is a registered UK charity.
“The trustees have not filed any accounts since the year ending April 5, 2009 and the Commission has serious concerns about mismanagement in the administration of the charity by the trustees in relation to the operation of the online donations portal and risk to charity funds,” the Charity Commission revealed.
“The interim manager’s recent assessment indicates that there is a shortfall between the funds due to the charities donated through CharityGiving, and the cash held by The Dove Trust,” the Charity Commission said in a statement.
The CharityGiving website says it has nearly 30 years experience in the fundraising and also raises money for overseas charities.
The Commission says it used its powers under the Charities Act 2011 to appoint an Interim Manager of the charity in order to fulfil specified functions.
“We have taken this action because of serious concerns about the trustees’ management of the fundraising portal and the charity’s financial situation,” the Head of Investigations and Enforcement at the Charity Commission, Michelle Russell said.
“We recognise this will cause concern among the donors and fundraisers who have collected money for the charity through the site and for the charities who are expecting to receive those funds.
“However it is now clear that the financial situation of the charity means there was no option but to suspend the online portal. We know that the public will be concerned to ensure that donations made reach the charities for whom they were intended, and the interim manager will now undertake an urgent, detailed review of the charity’s finances to establish the extent of the shortfall and which charities and donors are affected.
“Our concerns are limited to The Dove Trust and the CharityGiving portal and this should not undermine public confidence in online giving. We have issued advice to the public about giving safely and will work with the fundraising community to reassure the public.”
The Charity Commission says that any funds donated on or after July 12 should be automatically directed back to the donor through the banking system.
“It is expected that an alternative option will be set up by the Interim Manager shortly so that donors can continue to support charities."
The UK Charity Commission is the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales.
A CharityGiving website statement said: “We are currently working with the Charity Commission to consider as a matter of urgency the next steps in order to protect existing funds the public has donated, and any future donations.
We recognise this will cause concern among the charities and donors using the website. Please note the facility to create fundraising pages or receive funds has been suspended until further notice,” the statement said.