The Fundraising Standards Board (FRSB) has overruled a complaint about the RSPB’s Abernethy Forest appeal. Complainants had alleged that the conservation charity had made misleading and exaggerated claims about the condition of the Abernethy Forest on its online fundraising page “Keep Abernethy Special.”
The FRSB Board reviewed the complainants’ concerns together with evidence provided by the charity. The RSPB pointed out that, before launching its campaign, its plans had been subject to a full Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA); scrutiny by statutory conservation authorities, Scottish Natural Heritage, the Cairngorns National Park Authority and the Forestry Commission Scotland; and it had consulted the public.
‘Fundraising communications ought not to mislead’
In its latest adjudication ruling, made on 11 June 2014, the FRSB considered the complaint against the requirements of the Institute of Fundraising’s Code of Fundraising Practice. In particular, the Board considered whether the charity had breached section 5.2 of the Code, which states that:
“Fundraising communications OUGHT NOT to mislead, or be clearly likely to mislead, by inaccuracy, ambiguity, exaggeration, omission or otherwise.”
The FRSB Board recognised the technical nature of this complaint but, on the basis of the evidence put before it, determined that the claims made in the charity’s Abernethy Forest appeal webpage were not misleading and that the complaint would not be upheld.
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