Charity fundraisers are misleading vulnerable people
Charity is obviously a good thing and getting funding is increasingly difficult thanks to the sheer number of charities around and, of course, people are tired of being charity-mugged in the street and having justgiving accounts shoved up their noses online.
However, there's something worse than being-a-bit-annoyed going on as fundraisers are under fire for the way they've been treating the elderly and vulnerable.
Channel 4's Dispatches have done an undercover investigation and found one company telling the undercover reporters (posing as fundraising staff) to make sure a woman suffering from depression and another caring for a terminally-ill daughter got repeat calls asking them for money.
Dispatches reporters worked at NTT Fundraising in Bristol and London-based Pell & Bales, who raise funds for charities including Oxfam, the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), Unicef and Barnardos.
The show also spoke to a family who claim that a firm exploited a family member with dementia. A lady called Emma Frost was outraged when she found out how many charity direct debits were being taken from her late father's bank account. He suffered from Alzheimer's disease.
"I think really his vulnerability which would have been very clear because he was so confused – he couldn't string a sentence together – must have been exploited because nobody could possibly have missed that," she told Dispatches.
As we all know, and was backed up by the investigation, fundraising firms will resort to the dark arts to get what they want. Customers saying that they didn't want call-backs were indeed on the end of repeat calls, and one NTT supervisor said someone who was suffering from depression should not be deleted from their database because being depressed was not a "get out of jail free card".
One of the undercover reporters was told that they were expected to meet targets despite the fact that a statement on the Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity website clearly says that "our fundraisers are not given personal financial targets".
The show will be broadcast at 8pm tonight on Channel 4. It is clear that an urgent review of the sector is needed.