Web Fundraising a Scammers Paradise

It may be part of human nature for tragedy to stimulate a charity gene that provides an outpouring of cash and emotion. Tragedy is  the backbone of funding to help with international disasters and top up the coffers of DEC. Big charities hopefully ensure their web funding, logistics and ethics are legal, decent and honest. That may not always be so on smaller one off appeals by amateurs often using fundraising platforms, email and social media, (modern day tin collecting.)

In the face of recent concerns the charity regulators are meeting with fundraising platforms to impose new guidelines.

Campaign Updates for Man made Disasters

  • The We Love Manchester Fund managed through the Red Cross has reached over £4 million, thanks to generous donations the majority of which was via web sites. Each of the 22 bereaved families will receive £250,000.
  • Grenfell Tower as a search term on Just Giving has 3 appeals linked to registered charities. But not all are for registered charities, Just Giving, had to take over control of an account spuriously raising cash for  Westminster terror attack victim.
  • The British Red Cross, K&C Foundation and the London Community Foundation have come together to make money available immediately through the London Emergencies Trust, a charity set up following the Westminster Bridge attack this year to support the victims of emergencies. There are reports of false claims by individuals seeking to gain from the tragedy.
  • In Las Vegas, ‘Zappos for Good’ is matching donations made on the CrowdRise donation page, up to $1 million, to help support victims and their families of the recent shooting massacre.
  • The Mirror and other national newspapers report: a page to raise £1.5million to prosecute missing Madeleine McCann’s parents was taken down amid fraud claims; ‘scammers’ had hijacked a web fundraising campaign to send a little girl with leukemia on a dream trip to Disneyland;  Another case saw a dance teacher convicted for inventing a story about a nine-year-old “pupil” who was dying from cancer and asked for donations to pay for a dream trip to Disneyland; Kids’ football coach Darren Head, 39, got a 14-week suspended jail term in 2015 for stealing about £4,500 he raised on Just Giving .


  • Caveat emptor or buyer beware was a commercial mantra until it was overtaken in the UK with a compensation culture,  miss-selling rules and entitlement beliefs. Some of those who have donated to fraudulent sites are hoping to get the money refunded. Do not hold your breath.
  • Encourage and assist the Charity Commission to keep up their scrutiny and integrity work.
  • Beware Band Waggon Jumpers and make your own assessments of relative need and marginal operators before parting with cash or support in kind.

Evangelical about Money


In 1882 Wilson Carlile established The Church Army with a vision to train ordinary Christian men and women to reach those most in need with the gospel. Carlile started to hold open air gatherings where he would encourage grooms, coachmen and other working people to share their faith in both words and action. As The Church Army grew Carlile also focused the charity’s work on the slums of Westminster – one of the darkest spots in London.

 Charitable Activities


The charity claims ‘EVERY £1 YOU DONATE GOES TO OUR FRONTLINE’ except looking after £31m of reserves and assets has significant costs and this plus raising funds of £6m pa costs over a £1m! Thus at least a sixth of every £1 does not go to the frontline.

Reserves are 6 times the annual expenditure . Perhaps new plans will see more of the reserves dedicated to helping the homeless.

Balancing the Balance Sheet

Perhaps these extracts from the published accounts go some way to explaining why so much is spent on funding matters:’

  • Derivative financial instruments are initially measured at fair value at the date on which a derivative contract is entered into and are subsequently measured at fair value through profit or loss.We employ derivatives for the purposes of reducing risk in the portfolios.
  • Exchange traded forward currency contracts are held for hedging all or part of the overseas currency exposure in the portfolio. Other derivatives are held within the Ruffer Protection Strategies Fund
  • The Society holds a variety of basic financial instruments as part of its day-to-day activities, principally investments, bank deposits and accounts
  • The investment managers at times use hedges as part of a cautious investment strategy to reduce the underlying risks in the
    portfolio, but do not actively seek to invest in hedge funds.
  • The Investment properties for which fair value can be measured reliably without undue cost or effort are measured at fair value
  • Current asset investments include cash on deposit and cash equivalents.’

Sex Worker Supporters

Basis Yorkshire Ltd 1120350 – is one of those invaluable ‘hands on’, smaller charities that work with sectors of society that do not attract a great deal of charitable support.

‘The charity’s principal activity is the protection and preservation of good health of women and young people who are, or who are at risk of becoming involved in prostitution in the city of  Leeds or it’s immediate neighbourhood. ….. by the provision of an advice and counselling service, pastoral and practical care, and the advancement of education for the public benefit.’  One way this is achieved is by  offering free sexual heath supplies including a range of condoms, lubricant, dams, gloves, and sponges. Another is support on health and sexual exploitation.

Welcome Support

  • Plastic bags for food parcels –
  • Donations of (unopened) toiletries; toothbrush, towel, shower gels, clothes etc.
  • Non- perishable food items crisps, soup, chocolate, tins etc. to give out on Outreach!
  • Not to mention cash which can be sent by cheque in addition to other methods including Just Giving.


‘Helping with outreach in Holbeck – offering hot drinks, food, condoms and a friendly conversation – is my small way of making an active contribution to Basis’ incredible work. It is one thing to talk about an important cause, it is quite another to go out and meet the people you want to support’. A Current volunteer

Charity Lottery ‘and the Winners are for Profit’

Charities across many sectors must think they have won the lottery!  From Oxfam to the Royal Mencap Society, Fire Fighters to Sue Ryder there are a burgeoning number of number of ‘lottery schemes’ to redistribute your wealth. The Gambling Commission records 520 licensed lotteries that range from big bookies to bigger charities.

The  for Profit Sector

Google ads for these schemes rake in money for guess who? You got it, Google! TV ads are becoming more frequent for example back to back ITV 3 adverts for the  Cats Protection lottery and the RNIB must have cost a few months prize money. ‘Your Charity Lottery’  works in conjunction with Dove House Hospice Ltd   509551 – and says it offers other charities and fundraising groups the opportunity to add a weekly draw to their fundraising portfolio’.

Set up and management costs for these schemes must have been calculated to be cheaper than other fund raising activities, or more likely it is just one more money raising method. Private commpaies have latched on to the opportunity for their business eg. ‘ Zaffo can manage lotteries, raffles, prize draws, free prize draws, instant win games’…….. ‘ Woods is already leading the market. We act as an external Lottery manager, providing clients with a comprehensive charity lottery service ……….’  ‘Clubdraw is designed to give good causes large and small – from village playground fund to international club – the chance to gain support and raise valuable funds through their own weekly lottery draw ………’ Other similar organisations are available.

The Gambling Commission

A lottery is a kind of gambling which has three essential ingredients:
■You have to pay to enter the game
■There is always at least one prize
■Prizes are awarded purely on chance

Types of lottery under the Gambling Act 2005 are classified as

Small society lotteries The society in question must be set up for non-commercial purposes eg sports, cultural or charitable. There is a top limit of £20,000 in ticket sales.

Large society lotteries Similar to the small society lottery, but there is a minimum of £20,000 in ticket sales and more onerous controls.

Local authority lotteries to help with any expenditure it normally incurs. They must hold a Gambling Commission licence.

The following types of lottery do not require permission.

  • Private society lotteries must raise money for the purposes for which the society is conducted or to raise funds to support a charity or good cause. No rollovers.
  • Work lotteries for colleagues who work at the same single set of premises/people who live on the same single set of premises. No rollovers. make no profit or be to raise funds for a charity or good cause.
  • Customer lotteries can only be run by a business, at its own premises and for its own customers. No prize can be more than £50 in value. This type of lottery cannot make a profit, and so is unsuitable for fundraising. No rollovers.
  • Incidental lotteries  can be held at commercial events (such as exhibitions) or non-commercial events (such as school fetes) and must be for charitable or other good causes. They cannot be run for private or commercial gain.


  • Is enough of the donor/player cash returned to the good or charitable cause.
  • Both the Gambling and Charity commissions have supervision roles and need to be coordinated to prevent abuse.
  • Gambling is a potential problem for those less able to manage their finances. Our local Credit Union (set up to to help borrowers) is happy to promote its regular lottery and annual raffle.

World Book Day Playground Squabble

Continuing our literacy themed charities, World Book Day Limited  (1079257)  is in the news.  Amongst other initiatives they distribute 15 million £1 book tokens the cost of redemption being met by book retailers. The charity  particularly promotes world book day with the object of  advancing the education of the public, particularly by assisting in the promotion of reading among children and young people.

Books are selected for the event on 1st March by the nominated representatives of the 3 bookseller and 3 publisher trustees. This year some authors are up in arms or after some free publicity? They question or complain that the selection of 40% of the chosen titles are by ‘celebrity’ authors and media personalities.

The tokens can be used to reduce the cost of of other books. WBD deny that the celebrity books are ghostwritten.


    • Children, parents and authors all benefit from the work of WBD.
    • Vested interests can be a problem if they gets out of hand but trade sponsorship funds this organisation which runs without any paid staff.
    • It seems churlish for authors to be too critical lest they be thought to be selfserving.
    • Had I read more as a child I may have been able to write better web pages.
    • The Royal Literary Fund 219952 formed in 1790 provides grants and pensions to writers in financial difficulty. Prince Regent, the future George IV would approve of attempts to improve playground literacy.

Book Cover

  • Give a book 1149664 is a 5 year old charity that has donated over 20,000 dictionaries to prisoners and primary schools.


Seeing Charity In Action

The Royal Commonwealth Society for the Blind is a UK registered charity 207544 and SCO38110 trading and branded as Sightsavers.
Facts You may Not Know
  •  31.2 million people  are blind when they needn’t be. With drugs and support Sightsavers have protected 330 million people from becoming new victims from river blindness or trachoma.
  • Sightsavers  2016 income was a massive £300million pounds. £230million of this was in the form of gifts in kind and donated service. – Merck & Co Inc. donated Mectizan®
    tablets shipped to Benin, Cameroon, Cote D’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Malawi Nigeria,
    Togo and Uganda for distribution to those people at risk of developing river blindness.
  • International Trachoma Initiative (ITI), an independent not-for-profit organization dedicated to eliminating trachoma also donated via  Pfizer, Zithromax®  for Sudan.
  • Individual donations and legacies were £48m and £24m was received from various governments and other sources.
  • A Million Miracles is Sightsavers campaign to fund one million operations that will restore, save and protect people’s sight in some of the poorest parts of the world. £6million has been invested in neglected topical disease.
  • Sightsavers was founded in 1950 originally called the British Empire Society for the Blind, then the Royal Commonwealth Society for the Blind.
  • Compared to many other charities, cash and reserves are not overly large which may imply that money is being made to work hard.
  •  Sightsavers fund raising costs £18m each year!

Trumps Double Bogie

Is fake news, like my golf handicap,  the result of being a bit of a bandit. Lets tee off with a double bogie and two Trump foundations that could be an albatross for many  Americans . Talk about flying like an eagle even if the foundations are turkeys.  There is no fairway to putt a slice of this story into context so there may be a hole in one line or another. (too much Ed.)

Did the Trump charitable foundation pay the Trump golfing business $100,000+ for charitable golf tournaments despite promising they would be free?  The jury is still out on that one – like other Trump matters. But the ‘hook’ from Forbes magazine provides more insight:

Did the Eric Trump Foundation donate to other charities & organisations so they could run and pay for golf events at Trump golf part of the Trump Organisation . Mmmm an interesting use of donated even if not used for golf with funds where donors were told their money was going to help sick kids, but more than $500,000 was re-donated to other charities’.

All of this seems to defy federal tax rules and state laws that ban self-dealing and misleading donors. It also raises larger questions about the Trump family dynamics and whether Eric and his brother, Don Jr., can be truly independent of their father.

At first the extra bills did not cost the Eric Trump Foundation anything. Shortly before the spike in costs, the Donald J. Trump Foundation donated $100,000 to the Eric Trump Foundation–a gift explicitly made, according to Gillule, to offset the increased budget. Thus, the Eric Trump donors were still seeing their money go to work for kids along the same lines as previous years.

The Eric Trump Foundation declined to comment on that donation. In effect, though, this maneuver would appear to have more in common with a drug cartel’s money-laundering operation than a charity’s best-practices textbook. That $100,000 in outside donations to the Donald J. Trump Foundation (remember: Trump himself didn’t give to his own foundation at this time) passed through the Eric Trump Foundation–and wound up in the coffers of Donald Trump’s private businesses.

It’s hard to imagine how the early incarnation of the golf tournament–big hauls, understandable costs–would have any problem continuing to spew out millions for years to come. Last year, the Eric Trump Foundation donated $2.9 million, according to St. Jude.

But in December, Eric Trump said he would stop fundraising. Running an event with an increasing commingling of business and philanthropy created the kind of conflict-of-interest (not to mention image) concerns that similarly plagued Ivanka Trump’s aborted attempt to auction off a coffee date on behalf of Eric’s foundation.

More recently, the foundation has rebranded itself as Curetivity. A spokeswoman for the organization said it would continue hosting golf tournaments to raise money for St. Jude. A Curetivity event was held this past May outside Washington, D.C., with Eric Trump in attendance, at the Trump National course.

IN ORDER TO understand the Eric Trump Foundation, you need to understand the Donald J. Trump Foundation. The president was never known for giving his foundation much money, and from 2009 to 2014, he didn’t give it anything at all. Outsiders still donated, though, allowing Trump to dole out their money to a smattering of more than 200 charities as if it were his own, with many of the donations helping his business interests.

Eric Trump Foundation now known as Curetivity is still  under investigation by the state attorney general’s office according to The Hill   part of the News Communications Inc founded by  the Unification Church  and leader, Sun Myung Moon.

Good and Bad Alzheimer’s

There are 69 registered charities that come up on a search for dementia or Alzheimer’s. This post contrasts the largest from the charity commission list and a registered charity that didn’t even feature in the 69 from the search.

Alzheimer’s Society Benchmark Facts & Figures

  • Annual income to March 2016 £100 million
  • 2,550 staff 10,000 volunteers –
  • Income has grown 40% in 5 years
  • Over 80% of income is spent on charitable activities
  • Cost of fundraising is 16% Income is derived more or less equally from Donations 37% and  Contracts 36% with Legacies 23% an important contributor.
    Investment income, trading and other is 4%

Alzheimer’s Society  spends £6.5m on research grants but delivers the majority of service via staff including ;-

  • Day and home care, Dementia support and advisers, Support groups, Befriending and Advocacy. An admirable range of service and support.
1133624 – Age Sentinel Trust
I was hooked in at the weekend by a face to face collector in our local garden center. The ‘shaken tin’ had a blue Alzheimers like logo but the collector showed me his Age Sentinel badge and said they collected face to face whilst the Alzheimer’s Society no longer did.  I moderated my contribution resolving to follow up.

I am not the first: Charitable Sentiments blog has interesting information on small charities and Age Sentinel who collect in retailers including Marks & Spencer and Tesco’s. It looks like I paid a Gumtree recruit rather than giving to anAlzheimer’s cause .

Age Sentinel annual income over the last 5 reports and accounts varies between £43k-£52k. Only 50% is spent on charitable work by making grants, providing information and logistical support,  special communication devices or home adaptations to individuals and number of voluntary organisations without any detail.

Concerns and Problems

Small ill disciplined charities damage donor goodwill:

  • Lack of clarity about the beneficiaries leaves donors cynical.
  • 33% costs apparently paid as commission.
  • Use of the illness brand  ‘Alzheimer’s’  in face to face unlicensed collection on private retail premises.
  • Age Sentinel shares a trustee and locations with 1141908 – Child Sentinel Trust. Their income and expenditure is also obscure and social media presence non-existent.


Trusts fit for the Queen

THE QUEEN’S TRUST 272373 – originally The Queen’s Silver Jubilee Appeal provides grants to charities associated with enabling young people to help others in direct and practical ways.
After spending over £100 million since inception they are now ‘spending out the remaining funds and will close to new applications by 2019.’
THE QUEEN ELIZABETH DIAMOND JUBILEE TRUST 1145640 –  Spending around £12m per annum with £48m in hand as part of ‘a mission to leave a lasting legacy, owned by the whole Commonwealth, in honour of Her Majesty The Queen….. to eliminate avoidable blindness and empower a new generation of young leaders.’ Hence £6m, half of the annual sum is spent with Sightsavers.

THE QUEEN’S COMMONWEALTH TRUST 1172107 was formed in 2016 and registered as a charity in 2017. Based on ‘The Queen’s belief in young people as a force for good. This new charity claims to be focusing on sport, education, health and environment. The Trust’s ambition is to enable young people to build a better future for all.   ‘This new venture may also be a precursor to the inevitable vacuum and fund raising opportunity when the Queen dies.

The Royal Commonwealth Society was founded in 1868 and received its Royal Charter in 1882 as the Colonial Institute aka The Royal Colonial Institute later to become The Royal Empire Society and ultimately The Royal Commonwealth Society. During 150 years of operation it has demonstrated it can adapt to the times.
Income and assets are around the half million pound mark available for youth based activities including annual multi-faith observance on commonwealth day, commonwealth essay competition  and a youth leadership programme.


  • Fragmented organisation can be costly, lack focus and create duplication and potential division.
  • Large reserves, cash balances and investments are costly to service and administer. At the same time charitable benefits are delayed or denied.

Grassroots Literacy Assistance

Following the ‘Charity Short’ post ‘Helping Children Enjoy Reading’ I ventured into a pop up shop in Bradford that was giving away books  for free.  Organised by the Global Education Trust  1144969 (GET) they have 29 outlets offering free books in the belief that primary education must be free and available to all children to help raise child and adult literacy rates in the UK

GET as a small charity spends two thirds of it’s £60,000 annual income on rates and relies on donations, volunteers and free rents to fulfill the charitable activities that include:

  • Making its own charitable donation to support the activities of other registered charities for the advancement of education.
  • Provided funding for education overseas.
  • Donating educational materials to schools and UK communities
  • Collecting, sorting and redistributing books.

As well as providing physical resources globally, GET also consider providing financial assistance in the form of bursaries and educational support. They also believe that every adult deserves the ability to read and write. ‘Good standards of literacy form a key enabler in all walks of life.’


  1. It is not easy starting and running a small charity.
  2. GET will have issues hopefully no worse than having had to restrict free books to 3 per person per visit to prevent commercial abuse of their charitable nature.
  3. Literacy is an issue and it is interesting to note in these 2 posts that at least 10 organisations are making some progress.

Tsunami Season of Plastic Charity

Charitable donors are braced for another tsunami season! The deluge of plastic bags for the donation of clothes and brick-a-brak  is stepping up a gear after the summer holidays. Professional collection companies are becoming more adept at signing on new charities and targeting post code areas for bag drops.

No such thing as a good Tsunami

  • Why are the plastic bags generally prepackaged in another plastic wrapper – go figure.
  • The 5p single use plastic bag charge for retailers is not applicable in these cases. The majority of bags are probably never even given a single use, at least for the purpose intended.
  • Why has no charity ‘cottoned on’ to the environmental impact of ‘plastic charity’ and the seemingly random collections of home delivered bags. Paper bags or multi use receptacles could be devised.
  • The door to door distribution of bags by foot seems effective, profitable for some and job creating. Many vans driving slowly and stop starting around a local district creates pollution. Nominating  set dates for  zoned collections would help as would allowing donors to use their own receptacles.
  • What proportion of bags collected are subsequently recycled at the warehouse or charity?  A cynic would say not enough.


Where are all the Plastic Bag 5p’s Going

Since October 2015 shoppers in England are charged 5p for every new single use plastic bag they obtain from a shop . Scotland started a similar scheme in 2014. The income should go to good causes.

The charge applies only to shops or chains with 250 or more full-time employees and there are 261 such chains registered. Some items are excluded such as unwrapped food, raw meat and fish where there is a food safety risk, prescription medicines, uncovered blades, seeds, bulbs and flowers, or live fish and paper bags. Smaller businesses can introduce a charge if they wish but remain unregistered.

Benefits from the Law

  • £60m savings in litter clean-up costs and less pollution in seas and rivers.
  • Large savings from the reduced hydrocarbon consumption and other environmental benefits.
  • Over £400m should be raised for good causes if the 5p’s collected are passed on to charities as originally envisaged?
  • Increased public awareness of plastic pollution.
  • Retailers are not spending money on single use bags they used to give away.

Charity Schemes

  • Retailers  need to report what they do with the money. Smaller charities could pitch direct to retailers for a slice of the cash generated.
  • Some major supermarket chains, including Aldi, Marks and Spencer, Sainsbury’s and The Cooperative Group have worked with CAF.
  • Waitrose have just concluded a deal with  Marine Conservation Society to fund clean ups.
  • Tesco have just stopped  selling “single use” 5p  bags instead offering shoppers reusable “bags for life” costing 10p. Double or quits for their local community grant scheme.

Bags of Suspicion

Are some retailers keeping the 5p charge to boots profits or to offset the cost of all the bags and packaging they supply.

Are some retailers collecting the charge without being require too.

Are some retailers and charity administrations using the income to cover inappropriate costs  or none charitable purpose.


Old Charity for Old Folk

For over 150 years this charity and it’s forerunners have provided support for the poor and elderly. The original goal was to prevent destitution by providing those in poverty with a small, regular income for life.  In 2011 they merged with two other charities, Counsel and Care and the Universal Beneficent Society to form a combined organisation under the title Independent Age.
Current service provision is clearly focused in three areas
Information and advice, Friendship services and Campaigning or Speaking up for Older people. A justifiable claim is that ‘Independent Age can provide you and your family with clear, free and impartial advice on the issues that matter: care and support, money and benefits, health and mobility. ‘ On average over the last 3 years they spend  £10m per annum on these activities plus fund raising and admin.
At the end of 2016 they had very strong reserves and  £178,000,000 of investments in shares and property. This has been built up over many years boosted from the sale of residential property they formerly operated as residential homes.  This causes a couple of concerns :
  1. Half a million pounds per year is spent on Investment and Property Management Costs. There may be hidden transaction costs of buying and selling about 75% of the portfolio every 12 months.
  2. A further concern is how  money will be deployed across the mix of charitable aims between the key tangible service provision, political campaigning and awareness development.
  3. With this scale of reserves and investment is fund raising a necessary blessing or a curse. Current website requests for support include ‘£1,000 could help recruit and train 4 volunteers to provide friendship visits to lonely older people’

Helping Children Enjoy Reading

Seven Stories 1056812

Is it a book, is it a museum no it’s The National Centre for Children’s Books? (with thanks to Chubby Checker and Hank Ballard 1960 for the twist.)

This charity is celebrating Britain’s heritage of children’s literature in a visitor attraction located, you guessed it, in a seven story building in Newcastle. Sustainability is built around income from the visitor attraction, learning programmes and a wholly owned trading company. A sister charity is building a collection of contemporary British children’s books and related original artwork, manuscripts and archives. This a should not remain a secret seven.

‘Volunteer Reading Help’  296454 Operating as Beanstalk they recruit, train and support volunteers to work in primary schools with children who have fallen behind with their reading. The Duchess of Cornwall has been the Patron of Beanstalk since their 40th anniversary

‘Literacy-focused charities and organisations are celebrating Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall’s upcoming 70th birthday by giving 70 primary schools across the UK a set of 70 children’s books and specially designed bookshelves. The duchess is patron of  the  organisations involved – the National Literacy Trust, Beanstalk, BookTrust, First Story, Roald Dahl Literary Estate and the Wicked Young Writer Awards. The 70 schools selected to receive the books have all shown they are committed to promoting reading for enjoyment, and many are in disadvantaged areas of the UK.’

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is a free book-gifting programme launched in 1995 by the country singer. The Imagination Library sends a book in the post every month to each enrolled child. The scheme begins at birth and ends on a child’s fifth birthday. Various Council districts have launched this programme to improve literacy and reduce exclusion. Funded largely by The Dollywood Foundation and participating local authorities.



Unity Lotto is a bit of a Gamble

I recently referred to Unity Lottery when discussing Pets at Home’s pet charity ‘Support Adoption for Pets’. During research I was taken by the strong assertions by Unity Lottery that they had no connection to Unity Lotto. That set me wondering what was going on.

Unity Lotto

Unity Lotto operate a lottery syndicate, rather than a lottery so they maintain they are not required to be regulated or authorised by the Gambling Commission. If you are one of the many who have a complaint they suggest in the T’s&C’s ‘For more information, please visit the Gambling Commission Website. (Not much use if they are unregulated).  We are not required to be regulated by the Financial Services Authority, as the syndicate we operate is not an investment scheme.’

As far as we can ascertain Unity Lotto is not connected with Camelot Group PLC, any charitable good works or any other lottery providers nor is it in receipt of commissions.

UnityLotto EuroMillions syndicated service  enables members to play the lottery together by buying a number of tickets at a shared cost and splitting any prizes won.

This is a sample costing and reward calculation: assume ‘150 syndicate members pay £37 each for 4 weeks of 150 tickets a week. Total income £5,550 Money spent on tickets = £1,200.
Profits before costs for Unity Lotto £4350.
Not actually illegal and pretty much on a par with every scam online syndicate I have seen – most of them also offer existing members incentives to drag more victims in.
Good luck trying to get anything back and avoid online syndicates in the future.’ (Money Saving Expert forum).

Most of the complaints we have seen are based on recruitment of new members, taking money without clarity or due authority, misleading phone calls purporting to be from the National Pension Service and disappearing without responding to problems.

Unity Lottery

The Unity Lottery is a ‘common brand lottery jointly promoted with individual society lotteries. Each Lottery operated under Unity (part of Sterling Lotteries) is a separate licensed lottery, operated by and supporting that particular good cause.’ It is registered with the Gambling Commission.

Members sign-up to pay £1 per week for a unique six-digit lottery number. Numbers are entered into a weekly draw, with various prizes including a £25,000 jackpot. For every £1  received  50p will go directly to your chosen charity or cause. (50%) The rest covers prizes, profits and administration costs.

According to their parent organisation web site ‘in 2014, Sterling enabled over 250 organisations to raise a total of almost £45 million through fundraising lotteries. Their lottery members shared over £7.5 million in prizes.’ That looks like £45m less £7.5m prizes leaving about £27.5m for running costs and profits.


Neither of these organisations is a charity. Unity Lotto  needs to be supped with a very long spoon if at all.

Unity Lottery raises lots of money for lots of good causes from the supporters of those causes.

Lotteries offer significant potential for big business, fund raisers, managers and charities alike. They tend to rely on data bases of existing causes.

The National Lottery may have a lot to answer for in how it has changed our approach to charity.

Burma Looking for Salvation

The United Nations Security Council met on 30 August 2017 to discuss the humanitarian crisis in Rakhine State, Burma (Mayanmar). Nothing new about conflicts in Mayanmar. This latest crisis follows a  military offensive against civilians in Rakhine State. This time it is not The Salvation Army we know and love but an armed group known as the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army who are involved in the unrest.

Various UK charities are trying to ‘do their bit’ for Burma.

‘This charity is ‘working for religious freedom through advocacy and human rights, in the pursuit of justice.’ Christian Solidarity is calling for international action to tackle the crisis in Mayanmar, including measures such as targeted sanctions and the suspension of British training for the Burmese Army.
2. PENNY APPEAL 1128341
According to their latest funding appeal ‘close to 75,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh following violence in Mayanmar.  The number is rising. They need your help, fast.

Treated worse than animals, this dehumanisation of the Rohingya people has become ethnic cleansing in Myanmar. Human rights violations and destruction are rife, with women raped, children abused and villages burned to the ground. There is a mass exodus from the country as people flee for their lives, facing perilous journeys to do so. Dozens of refugees, including children, are missing and presumed dead, as Rohingya Muslims were forced to risk everything to escape this brutal persecution.’

3. KIDZ IN KAMPZ 1096118
Kidz in Kampz is still helping another oppressed minority from Mayanmar, the Karen people. Traditionally Karen people practised Animism (spirit worship) and  Buddhism. This smaller charity provides hands on service delivery on  projects such as  ′The School of Hope′ a school for children with special needs  located in Nupo camp. This refugee camp is  on the Thai border where the Committee for Coordination of Services to Displaced Persons in Thailand (CCSDPT)   focus on working with displaced persons from Burma.


The above illustrations show three ways UK charities make an impact, via advocacy, by fund raising and providing service delivery. Choose your preferred method of helping those causes close to your own aspirations.

Hybrid Animal between Business and Charity

Support Adoption for Pets  Registered Charity 1104152 also registered with the Gambling Commission.

The charity provides support for national animal welfare organisations and locally based re-homing centres through a combination of grants, joint fundraising activities and events. The charity also operates small animal adoption centres in a large number of pets at home stores.

Cross Between Business & Charity

  • Support Adoption for Pets is an independent charity established by Pets at Home in 2006
  • The Charity address is c/o Pets at Home, Handforth, Cheshire SK9 3RN.  Six of the Trustees of the Charity were also employees of Pets at Home Group.
  • Pets at Home branding and support is closely linked with the charity.
  • The principal funding sources for the Charity are the Support Adoption scheme, operated through Pets at Home stores, whereby donations from new pet owners, fundraising within stores, till donations, ‘Rounding Up’, charity boxes and bespoke store fundraising events contribute to the £3.6 annual income.
  • Pets at Home have 400 stores offering a  re-homing service for small pets.
  • Support Adoption for Pets offer funding support to pet re-homing organisations through a Grant Programme. The list of testimonials is impressive.
  • Private equity investors Kohlberg Kravis Roberts  recently bought the Pets at Home retail chain for a reputed £955m. They must appreciate and value the close link to this charity.
  • In a further business link the charity has a lottery managed by The Unity Lottery.  Unity itself is further administered by Sterling Management Centre, a registered External Lottery Manager.

UN’s Child Refugees

A UNHCR report found that ‘Opportunities to learn diminish greatly when children are forced to flee their homes …’ hence the objective of a current funding campaign by UNHCR (The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) is to help children obtain an education. Focused in Lebanon and elsewhere it is aimed at children who have been disrupted as a result of Syrian problems.

A back to school fund to help young Syrian refugees has been promoted by a five piece mailshot and a hard to find section of their website. The request was for £90 donation so a child ‘doesn’t miss out on their education and a chance of a better future.’


Relevant United Nations Comments

  • United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) was created in 1950. Registered as a UK charity branch in 1994 this partcular charity was wound up with its funds expended in 2006 presumably in favour of the international operation.
  • UNHCR is directly concerned with the protection of refugees. It  provides operational support and coordination to a wide range of private and public actors who work in the interest of refugees.
  • UNHCR  has more than 10,966 members of staff and works in 130 countries.
  • The UN has other agencies that work with UNHCR through the “Delivering as One” initiative including,  UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF),  World Health Organization (WHO),  UN Development Programme (UNDP), World Food Programme (WFP), International Organization for Migration  and others.
  • The major sources of funds are from governments, foundations and private donors. The European Union contributes $148m per annum plus national contributions and supplementary appeals.
  • UNHCR has a range of public figures who act as goodwill  ambassadors.


  • Few would doubt Child refugees are a cause worthy of support.
  • Individuals and organisations may select UNHCR as a channel for support or seek to help service delivery via other ‘charities’.
  • Focused ‘Funds’ raised and spent for defined purposes should create the greatest benefit.
  • The lack of a registered UK charity prevents ‘Gift Aid’ being claimed.

Unusual Clothes Charity

 HIS CHURCH  1097667

Reuse, repurpose and recycle are ways this church has reinvented charitable help using two niche supplies of charity clothing.

  1. According to a BBC programme His Church, has been so successful that a large proportion of British Trading Standards authorities now hand over all the clothes they seize to the charity. ‘The rebranding and embroidery of such donated clothes with the label “HIS” means that many underprivileged people have become proud to wear new clothes donated by the Charity.’
  2. The Charity continues to receive  used sleeping bags from various concerts that have occurred around the UK. These bags are washed and repaired if necessary and then donated to those in need, both in the UK and abroad.

The Charity is also working with several major football clubs to  “give the child a breakfast” from donated cereal. Those football clubs are, in return, providing out of date football kits to the Charity for onward transmission to Liberia and elsewhere. His Church has experience and good contacts with Liberia often crucial for smaller charities wishing to help in poor countries.

Averaging charitable expenditure of £500,000 for each or the last 5 years this niche charity just needs to keep it’s eye on the ball.


New Corporate Wheeze 2 September 2017

Big brand Rohan have a one month offer to help themselves. The highstreet retailer of walking and climbing clothes is encouraging you to ‘Gift Your Gear’  to a worthy cause for a 15% discount on new full price purchases.

Said Sarah Howcroft the organiser of the project ‘The outdoor gear you donate makes a real difference to local community organisations, youth groups and charities.’

As the saying goes ‘The Lord helps them who help themselves’.

Knights of Malta


A recent furore, surrounding this organisation and charity with over a thousand years of history, has begun to calm down . These two English & Welsh registered charities (along with SC040124) form part of the worldwide organisation based in the Vatican.

Issues for The Knights of Malta

It sees itself as a Roman Catholic ‘sovereign’ entity which runs refugee camps, drug treatment centres, disaster relief programmes and clinics around the world. As a result of recent turmoil a power struggle is taking place.

Internal fighting has enabled or forced Pope Francis to step into this semi autonomous organisation and rest control. An investigation has brought to light weaknesses in control systems, financial clarity and the conduct of its governance.

Matthew Festing, the British and recently deposed Grand Master of the order was banned from attending an election for his successor. He had accused and then dismissed the orders Grand Chancellor, Mr von Boeselager for condoning the distribution of condoms in an aid project in South-east Asia.  After much negative publicity and internal politicking, German-born Mr von Boeselager was reinstated with Vatican backing.

As the Catholic Herald reports ‘At stake is the governance of what is still technically, …  a sovereign international government which prints its own passports, wields enormous international influence, and controls considerable sums of money….. the religious and Catholic character of the order itself, and the true motivations of those who have triggered this whole process will be fiercely tested in the next year; and the new constitution which emerges will show not only who won, but what they were really fighting for in the first place.’

The British Charities

The Hospitaller order in December 2016 has reserves of over six million pound, annual income of £4,031,000 and charitable and other annual expenditure of £1,400,000 p.a.

The Military Order in December 2015 had reserves of £5,951,000 million pound, annual income of £4,166,000 and charitable and other annual expenditure of £1,035,000 p.a. (2016 accounts are due)


Expect more friction by May 2018 but don’t expect any illumination or clarity on the international funding and resources.

Current reserves look to be exceptionally generous unless charitable spending is dramatically increased.  The trustees should stop politicking and start spending

Victoria Cross – Grave News

The Victoria Cross is the highest military honour awarded for gallantry and valour “in the face of the enemy” to members of the British and Commonwealth services.   1363 Victoria Crosses have been awarded since its creation in 1856.

Vandalism & Desecration

  • The grave of Zulu War veteran Colour Sergeant Anthony Clarke Booth has recently suffered over £1,000 of damage in a wanton act of vandalism.
  • The Victoria Cross Trust intends to repair  and restore the grave at St Michael’s Church in Bell Street South, Brierley Hill.
  • Sergeant Booth, from Brierley Hill, served with the 80th Regiment of Foot now part of the Mercian Regiment.
  • The trust had earlier raised money to refurbish the damaged  grave of Lance Corporal William Coltman reputed to be the most decorated ‘other rank’ having won the Victoria Cross, the DCM  the Military Medal (twice).
  • Other Victoria Cross Trust’s completed projects

Victoria Cross  Trust

The trust aims firstly to restore the final resting places of Victoria Cross recipients through the restoration and protection of the graves and memorials across the United Kingdom and the rest of the world. There are a large number of private graves and memorials to those awarded the Victoria Cross and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission only looks after a small number because their remit only covers recipients killed in action during either of the world wars.

The trust continues to develop a   museum at Ashworth BarracksDoncaster, DN4 9EY in support of the Victoria Cross Trust. The creation of the museum to educate the public about Victoria Cross holders lives and citation details meets a further charitable aim.

The museum rates highly on Trip Adviser

  • Charities can be supported in more ways than with money. Better behaviour, more consideration and less vandalism would be a start.
  • The First World War Centenary campaign includes commemorative paving stones being laid at the birth places of Victoria Cross  recipients. These awareness programmes are to be commended.
  • The irresponsible elements who damage graves should consider what those Victoria Cross winners would think of our current society.


Intellectual National Trust Property

The case we are looking at relates to The National Trust for Scotland registered in Scotland, Charity Number SC 007410. The issues could be the similar for English Heritage,  National Trust and other land and building owning charities.

The National Trust for Scotland (NTS) claim to own Glencoe and hold the trademark for the name including that covering clothing. Now they have been accused of bullying a small Aberdeenshire  business in a trademark dispute. Lawyers for the charity wrote to Hilltrek Outdoor Clothing demanding they stop selling their Glencoe jacket that has been on the market for around 25 years! The recorded delivery letter was sent on the 4th August and gave the company until 11th August to comply or suffer further action.

A trust spokesman Mark Bishop, Director of Customer & Cause  said “In retrospect, although the letter sent to Hilltreck was a standard one, it may have been in the circumstances of this particular company too harsh in tone. Our only desire is to protect the properties in our care and stop them being exploited.” How many other companies have received similar ‘bullying’ but ‘standard’ letters. The aim may be to stop the properties in the charitie’s care being exploited but Mmm that is obviously the trust’s job.

NTS also owns St Kilda and is still at the centre of an acrimonious dispute  pursuing legal action against Western Isles Council, which wants to own potentially lucrative trademarks in the name of the famous archipelago to capitalise on the huge global interest surrounding St Kilda.   With its dramatic and romantic history, the Unesco World Heritage Site has been the inspiration for a wide range of goods and events, from clothing and books, through to opera productions, and the council has paid more than £1,000 to successfully apply for EC trademark applications for classes 9, 16, 35, 39, 41, 43.


  • Protecting trademarks can be far more expensive than registering them in the first place. The cost in the Glencoe case is to reputation and goodwill. The  St Kilda case is to legal bills and commercial consequences.
  • To what extent should charities take on commercial and business practices including action against other public bodies.

Dissing the National Trust Again

Gosh Ghosh is going! We wait to see what pension and final payments she receives. With her new role as Master of Balliol College Oxford  she should still be able to afford her National Trust Membership.

Six months ago I was sticking up for the National Trust when they got egg on their face over messing with Easter. Enough is enough and damaging headlines are again catching out this so called national treasure.

National trust rainbow badge –                       additional   material Mail Online

Telling volunteers they must wear a rainbow badge at Felbrigg Hall Norfolk in support of the 50th anniversary of decriminalisation of homosexuality was heavy handed in the extreme. It has caused such ripples that the trust backed down and now say they only request that the gay pride badge be worn. These weasley words were issued after volunteers and members complained leaving in droves in protest.

LGBT is a community of people whose sexual or gender identities can create shared political and social concerns. Writing in the Daily Telegraph   Dame Helen Ghosh currently chief executive said those who did not wish to wear gay pride lanyards could ‘step back’ from volunteering or take a backroom role. But just hours later, the National Trust issued a statement saying: ‘We are aware that some volunteers had conflicting, personal opinions about wearing the rainbow lanyards and badges. We are therefore making it clear that the wearing of the badges is optional and a personal decision.’ What was not optional was the Trusts decision to ‘out’ Felbrigg Hall’s former owner, the poet Robert Wyndham Ketton-Cremer, as gay.

 ‘Betrayal of Trust: how the National Trust is Losing its Way’.

This is the title of a presentation by journalist and historian Harry Mount  author of ‘How England Made the English: From Why We Drive on the Left to Why We Don’t Talk to Our Neighbours’ In a  public lecture he highlighted many issues for the National Trust including:

  • An organisation that was once the pride of Britain has been hijacked by a lethal combination of catastrophic dumbing down, social engineering, rampant politicisation and intolerance of opposing views under its last two director generals, former civil servants Dame Fiona Reynolds and Dame Helen Ghosh.
  • The Trust has sacrificed its original aims on the altar of political correctness and as a result we and future generations are all losers.
  • The mindset at the top of the organisation is alienating members and the volunteers who are the Trust’s lifeblood.
  • Headlines generated by this latest row have done nothing to help the Trust’s reputation for getting involved in areas it has no business to.
  • According to the National Trust Act of 1937, the Trust’s twin duties are the preservation of buildings of national interest and of beautiful landscapes.
  • Forget beautiful buildings and landscapes; what now matters is imposing modern political claptrap on our greatest country houses. It is symptomatic of an organisation that no longer cares for history.
  • A litany of further minor issues are raised in Henry Mount’s full article that make you question the management and politics of our National Trust. You may also be interested in his Spectator article on a similar theme ‘ How The National Trust is spoiling its treasures’.



Sporting Land Development


Still hitting the headlines, this charity is involved with  land around The Den Millwall FC’s football ground, offshore company Renewal and the new multi-million pound Bermondsey development. The media continue to question loans and funding arrangements and  relationships with Sports England and Lewisham council. To add to the problems a member of the public contacted the Charity Commission in January 2017 with some specific concerns including that:
  • the charity was a vehicle for money laundering and/or tax avoidance
  • there were conflicts of interest in the charity’s decision making, and links between the charity, a developer and local officials
  • the charity’s income was low, while its expenditure was high
  • that the charity had failed to achieve its stated aims

After  investigating the issues raised that were within their regulatory remit  the commission issued a report that included a conclusion ‘We considered that the charity had addressed our regulatory concerns and demonstrated that it was acting independently, we had no ongoing concerns about the funding of the charity. We closed our case in March 2017.’ The full report can be read here.

The Commission was able to provide public assurance that  the charity is operating in compliance with charity law. They did not examine the merits of the development scheme and the compulsory purchase orders that fall outside their regulatory remit.

‘We have ensured the trustees are clear that they need to continue to ensure that the charity is independent and that any decisions are made in the best interests of the charity. Charities can attract considerable public scrutiny where they are involved with decisions that are unpopular or controversial.

The public expect that charities and trustees should be as open and transparent as possible regarding the decisions they make. It is especially important where there may be an impression that individuals have conflicts of loyalty that trustees always act in the best interests of their charity. The key to making the right decisions (and being able to defend them) as a trustee is knowing your role and responsibilities.’

Reinforcing guidance for trustees

  • ensure your charity is carrying out its purposes for the public benefit
  • comply with your charity’s governing document and the law
  • act in your charity’s best interests
  • manage your charity’s resources responsibly
  • act with reasonable care and skill
  • ensure your charity is accountable

Rose Sickness – Charity Sickness

Another charity is succumbing to the problems of operating in the 21st century. The Royal National Rose Society  (RNRS 1035848  ) was founded in 1876 but called in the administrators May 2017.

The objects for this membership organisation were: to encourage, improve, and extend the science, art and practice of the cultivation and conservation of roses and to disseminate knowledge of roses and rose growing  by means of education, training, trials, publications, promotion of display gardens, the holding and regulation of shows, scientific research and international co-operation. Who will do it now?

What has gone Wrong

  • This is another charity with large ‘off the balance sheet’ pension liabilities.
  • This is another charity that is asset rich and cashflow poor. They own a large garden in St Albans which drains cash rather than generates rent or other significant income.
  • The day to day management of legacies, websites and membership income is proving too daunting.
  • The progressive reduction in publication income is partially due to the ready availability of rose data in the internet.
  • The  partnership with The Royal Entomological Society –
    213620 headquartered at St Albans has not worked despite that societies investment and reserves.
  • The RNRS site is  adjacent to the former Butterfly World business that closed in 2015 because it too failed to attract enough visitors.

Concerns and Issues

  • What happens to the intellectual property and will the administrators ‘put it all up for sale’ to the highest bidder.
  • Can and should charities seek some protection towards the unfunded pension obligations.
  • Single issue, or in this case species, charities need help to move with the times.

Read On…