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Alzheimer’s Society develops training package to help telephone fundraisers recognise vulnerability

Alzheimer’s Society develops training package to help telephone fundraisers recognise vulnerability

Alzheimer’s Society has responded to recent criticisms of some telephone fundraisers’ interactions with vulnerable people by developing a new package. It is designed to ensure that telephone fundraisers recognise vulnerability in people they call and handle contact with individuals in a way that is sensitive to their individual needs.

The charity is sharing its expertise in supporting people living with dementia by offering a practical tool to help improve the wider charity sector’s fundraising contacts with vulnerable people. The training will be made available to all charities and their agencies in November.

The question of how some staff at telephone fundraising agencies had treated people living with dementia was raised by The Daily Mail in its investigation into GoGen, and in its claims about some of the RSPCA’s legacy fundraising activities.

How will the training help fundraisers?

The awareness and skills that the training programme will provide and reinforce include:

• the ability to recognise situations where the recipient may not interpret what is being said in the way intended

• identifying vulnerability when speaking with a person via telephone

• understanding the importance of listening to the person rather than simply delivering a script

• identifying other communication methods to aid understanding

• recognising the importance of honesty and integrity


Dementia Friends

Dementia Friends, an Alzheimer's Society initiative

The training package will include Dementia Friends awareness sessions. The charity launched this initiative in February 2013 with the aim of helping more people develop an understanding of dementia, how it affects others and the small things that they can do that could make a difference to people living with the condition.

Jon Bodenham, Director of Fundraising at Alzheimer’s Society said:

“It is unacceptable that people living with dementia are being exploited by fundraising approaches which fail to take proper account of a person’s vulnerability. Alzheimer’s Society is committed to leading the way in demonstrating good practice and supporting others to do so. The new training package that we have developed will equip telephone fundraisers with vital skills to protect the most vulnerable people in society, and additionally help in addressing the broader problem of lack of understanding and awareness of dementia.

“Alzheimer’s Society champions the rights for people living with dementia and while living with dementia is not always a barrier to making informed decisions, and people with the condition should have opportunities to support charitable causes of their choice, it is imperative that fundraising practice safeguard these individuals.”


Howard Lake is a digital fundraising entrepreneur. Publisher of UK Fundraising, the world's first web resource for professional fundraisers, since 1994. Trainer and consultant in digital fundraising. Founder of Fundraising Camp.

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