Donations website failed to file accounts

The trustees of online donations website CharityGiving have not filed any accounts since the year ending 5 April 2009 and currently face a shortfall of at least £250,000.

The Charity Commission suspended the organisation's website on Friday (12 July) after “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 commission has since opened a statutory inquiry into the Dove Trust, which operates the portal.

A shortfall of at least £250,000 was found...

Continued...

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Nichola Ross Martin's picture

I've got serious concerns!    5 thanks

Nichola Ross Martin | | Permalink

The Dove Trust has been investigated since 2011. What on earth has the Charity Commission been up to all this time? Is this the "North Staffs" of the charity world?

Folks, if in any doubt just donate directly to your chosen charity. Ask them for their account details and you can do it via your online banking, or send them a good old cheque.

HM Treasury are currently consulting on new methods of donating to suit the digital age (that is for those who have decent internet or a phone signal).

Remember to Gift Aid your donations too, and these qualify for higher rate tax relief.

If you are a charity, don't forget to sign up for the Gift Aid Small Donations scheme, that could be worth an extra £1,250 per year.

daveforbes's picture

     1 thanks

daveforbes | | Permalink

 

If a charity receives £1000 of donations in year 1:

If we take the subscription fees into account for total donations to charity of £1000***, then this helps to illustrate the incredible offering of Charity Giving:

 

 
  Charity Giving Just Giving * MissionFish ^ Virgin Money Giving ^^
With Gift Aid £1,210.00 £954.00 £1,050.00 £1,095.00
Without Gift Aid £1,000.00 £717.00 £800.00 £845.00

Above is from CharityGiving's website. They do seem to be working on tight margins (or zero in some cases).

I think it will all depend on whether it turns out to be poor bookkeeping or something more sinister. My gut feeling is that if there was something dishonest going on, if you are processing £5M donations a year for 30 years, there would be a bigger hole than £250K.

I bet the professional fees will rack up !

Time will tell.

 

robertlovell's picture

CharityGiving update - 18 July

robertlovell | | Permalink

The CharityGiving website has published the following message on 18 July:

“The distributable assets held by the Dove Trust are less than the amounts payable to the charities that should be receiving funds. This means that at any one point in time income received for a charity was being used to make payments to another charity which had earlier receipts that could not be met from existing funds. For example, receipts for charity "A" were funding payments made to charity "B" as charity "B's" income had been used to pay charity "C." This is not acceptable and it is therefore important that the amounts owing and available are reconciled before any further payments can be made.

“The Interim Manager and his team tried to ascertain the correct financial position of the Dove Trust. This was not helped by the fact that the last accounts filed were for the year ended 5 April 2009. The trustees could not satisfy the Interim Manager or the Commission about the charity's financial position or the extent of the shortfall and the Commission acted to restrict movement on the charity's bank account to prevent payments leaving the accounts without approval from the Commission.

“This situation could not be allowed to continue and the Charity Commission extended the powers of the Interim Manager to act to the exclusion of all trustees on 12 July 2013. It was agreed that further funds should not be received to ensure that they were not tainted by the problems of the past. Therefore the web site was suspended and the Dove Trust's banks were instructed not to receive further funds.”

The company has also outlined what is being done now, with the following two immediate priorities:

1. To ascertain the correct amount owing to the different charities and to consider what assets are available to repay them. The amount of the shortfall has yet to be quantified and there are many accounts to reconcile.

2. To identify and set up proper mechanisms that will enable charities to resume fundraising as soon as possible in a way that ensures that funds raised after the 12 July are ring fenced appropriately. Discussions are in progress with other portal providers to see how funding can be resumed. Some charities and fundraisers are already using multiple providers and have redirected their income to other alternatives.

Misleading comparisons on Charity Giving's site?

anne in basingstoke | | Permalink

Dave Forbes paragraph above includes what he says is an illustration from Charity Giving's website.  I was alarmed by the huge fee percentage the table apparently shows as being claimed by JustGiving (over 23%) and other similar charities.  However, I have just checked JustGiving's site and this exlplains how their fee is between 2% and 5% of the gift including gift aid.   Most odd!  Why has JustGiving not raised this misinformation with Charity Giving already - unless I have misunderstood something?  Do the fundraisers also charge set up fees, which would eat into any small gift?

 

What are the Charity Commisioners doing?

rc.falconer | | Permalink

How did the Charity Commissioners allow this situation to develop? If a company fails to file annual returns and accounts Companies are active levying penalties and striking off companies. I don't know how much the Charity Commission costs, but it not money well spent.

@anne in basingstoke

pauljohnston | | Permalink

As present we are bombarded to pay £2-£3 per month by advertisements on the TV.  Each time I see this I do wonder how much actually is spent on the Charity objects.

I think that all Charities should have to show this difference ie amount actually paid to trust objects (eg starving in Africa) over amount paid including gift aid as a percentage in all requests for donations.  That is admin = x%

 

Charity Giving Figures (@anne in basingstoke)

phoare | | Permalink

The figures quoted above from Charity Giving's website have been adjusted to take into account a "subscription fee" which it seems the charity pays to be on the site in the first place (i.e. your 'set up fee'). For Just Giving, that's a £216/annum fee and the figures quoted above show what a £1000 donation to the charity in a year would result in the charity getting once the transaction fee and the annual subscription fee is taken off. If that charity got £2000 in the year, the deduction is nothing like as large. 

horrified

The Black Knight | | Permalink

That's the internet for you.

Legalised scamming in the name of charity! disgraceful.

I will refuse to use such methods of donating in future and express my reasons.

and people have the nerve to complain about bank charges and greedy bankers.

Thanks Dave for opening my eyes!

I am with Nichola, pre internet super fraud day methods are best.

It does make you wonder whether any of your money reaches the needy (those on less than £26K p.a anyway)

Corruption

The Black Knight | | Permalink

So Faith, Hope and Charity are all completely corrupt then.

Perhaps they forgot to pay the police the protection money?

Accounting for Charities

RKemsley | | Permalink

The concern is the staff time needed to record the merchant fees/admin fees and other costs associated with on-line donations, using justgiving or paypal or  doing a major event like the London Marathon or similar. Each event has an event fee/subscription fee which either the charity pays in the hope to raise additional money to raise awareness of there 'thing' or participants pay to raise funds for their specific charity. As it is the net amount that is transferred to the bank account, it is necessary to record the gross amount donated ( income) and then the associate fees (expenditure) in the charities accounts so that the trustees can see which events/on-line companies charge. We cannot get away from the fact that to make money you have to spend money and in business we accept this as they are profit making and part of the commercial world.  For some reason we struggle to understand charities in the same way although this is in fact the case that they are companies operating within the not-for profit sector and running charities even small ones cost money. Despite the many volunteers, operation expenses occur and these can only be covered by donations. Even Volunteer hours should be accounted for as donations of time to give the true operating cost of the charity to enable an accurate risk and reserve policy. However, why this company has been allowed to not submit accounts is a concern on three fronts. Did the charities that it raised money for account for the donations they should have got, afterall if the systems are robust enough these charities should be aware of what is due to them and raised the alarm in their own trustee meetings. Secondly, the damage to generous giving is challenged again when it is already a serious tough business to win funding from big and small supporters. The new gift aid rules make bucket donations possible to a level and cheques cost charities to process. Thirdly where is the independent  examiner in this process. I thought they had to be appointed by the trustees each year, similar to external auditors. Surely they have a responsibility to follow through on.It seems to me to be the same problem with regard to integrity to value other peoples money for other peoples use. Trust is the key here and it does raise concerns on what are The Charities Commission is really able to enforce and what role HMRC should be getting involved in. Maybe charging Charities who fail to file accounts on time is not considered charitable?

in reponse

RKemsley | | Permalink

Anna  All charities should show this information for transparency and to assess risk.  FX rates are an issue when dealing with foreign projects as well as the culture differences. Sadly, a lot of charitable money raised does not get to it intended project. But we can be discerning in where and how we give. Local charities you can volunteer your time and skills which you will know has a direct and immediate effect on the work of your chosen charity. Also, for larger charities, ask to see the accounts and the social corporate responsibility document to see how the admin costs are managed. Charity work is a salaried job for many and all valuable. We need to test that the charity work and the integrity of the trustees matches to ensure the very good work of many charities is not blighted and giving stops. I would encourage people to donate their skills, especially in 'Treasurer' and 'external independent examiners' roles for local charities to gain a better understanding of the complexities for accounting for charitable funds.

costing

The Black Knight | | Permalink

someones costing has gone astray If the Staff required to bank and fill in a gift aid declaration cost more than that?

perhaps if charities were not buried in pointless accounting (e.g. the potential cost of volunteers)

etc etc etc then they could attend to important matters such as making sure fraudsters were not taking full advantage from theirs eyes being diverted to corporate responsibility and other made up nonsense statements, which take up the most time fabricating.

Unfortunately charity accounts are so not useful (being written for people who prefer to look at paintings rather than numbers) that it is an ideal environment for fraudsters to operate.

2009 accounts

The Black Knight | | Permalink

http://apps.charitycommission.gov.uk/Accounts/Ends01%5C0000287401_ac_200...

List of audit concerns/qualifications

Related party transaction loans to the trustees.

A going concern material uncertainty.

What indeed have the charity commissioners been doing all this time?

company sic codes

The Black Knight | | Permalink

sic but two companies are listed as Dormant.

No wonder they can't generate the funds to repay the loans.

can't be right? shirley

Airplane I think

The Black Knight | | Permalink

think it was Airplane (the film)

"surely you don't mean that"

"don't call me Shirley"

 

Perhaps you ought to read.

richardgolding | | Permalink

Perhaps you ought to read. Nowhere does it say that the Charity Commisssion have suspended Just Giving's website.

CharityGiving does not = JustGiving    1 thanks

anne in basingstoke | | Permalink

Dear George, An apology from you may be in order.  As Richard suggested, you would benefit from reading the article.  Charity Giving is not the same as Just Giving.

Dear Everyone on this stream, I do wonder why some of you are so rude in your posts, or is this the language you use in everyday life?  In my experience, rude people often have an undealt with problem (although arrogance and insecurity may mean they will not acknowledge it).   These rude personae can stop them making secure, long-lasting and enjoyable relationships.  I do hope any of you in this category will decide to access help so that you become more pleasant people to deal with and can grow old at peace with yourself and others.  Your comments would also be easier to read!

Have a great day, all of you!!

Charity Giving - slight curve

Mark Hogan | | Permalink

On a slight curve, I have a Client who Limited Co (not a Charity) hasn't filed Accounts or Annual Returns since 2009. Does anyone know if there can be any sort of innocent reason for this or how long Companies House are liable to let the situation continue?  

just accountancy

The Black Knight | | Permalink

anne in basingstoke wrote:

Dear George, An apology from you may be in order.  As Richard suggested, you would benefit from reading the article.  Charity Giving is not the same as Just Giving.

Dear Everyone on this stream, I do wonder why some of you are so rude in your posts, or is this the language you use in everyday life?  In my experience, rude people often have an undealt with problem (although arrogance and insecurity may mean they will not acknowledge it).   These rude personae can stop them making secure, long-lasting and enjoyable relationships.  I do hope any of you in this category will decide to access help so that you become more pleasant people to deal with and can grow old at peace with yourself and others.  Your comments would also be easier to read!

Have a great day, all of you!!

Always has been a pool of piranhas.

Can you imagine what it would be like if we didn't have rules of professional courtesy?

You are right though!

 

when will they get it

The Black Knight | | Permalink

read it George

when will they get it. Psychopaths will not spend a long time thinking about it because they don't care. Mainly because the part of the brain that does empathy aint working properly.

They recon 40% of large corporate middle managers and high flyers are psychopaths because they can copy all of the attributes (including Charisma) you would see in a high flyer, are extremely good at lying and the only difference is the trail of destruction behind them. They thrive in a fast changing environment!!!

Just to link the thread diversion back to corporate fraud, tax fraud and other wrongdoing.

We could do a much better job of these crimes but would question whether it was right and then sit there worrying about it and questioning whether we had covered our tracks properly. The psychopath therefore has a distinct advantage in our modern day society.

How many high flyers can you think of that have shown a don't care attitude? (by their actions not their words)

Brain scans are the future!! Every politician should have one for a start.

every curse

The Black Knight | | Permalink

Every curse comes with a gift!

or is it just part of the same curse being able to see?

the only bit you are in charge of is how you use the gift?

 

Charities

the_Poacher | | Permalink

There seem to be many dodgy things going on with charities these day -dodgy or no accounts,  incompetence, high salaries for some CEOs, dishonesty, use for tax avoidance etc.

Apparently even some prviate schools are registered as charities. 

It's about time this sector was sorted out.  For a start, lets get rid of gift aid.  Charitable donations are a spending choice, why should they attract tax relief? 

Then, lets resource the Charities Commission and HMRC to check what these charities actually do with our donations.