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FRSB turns down complaint but issues guidance recommendation

FRSB turns down complaint but issues guidance recommendation

A complaint concerning a £1 discretionary donation to diners’ bills has not been upheld by the FRSB.

The discretionary donation to Genesis Breast Cancer Prevention was added to every diner’s bill during the Christmas period at a local branch of a chain of restaurants operating in the UK.

The complainant felt the approach was deceptive because they had not seen any promotional literature about the partnership with the charity. They also felt it failed to take into account their right to be able to make an active choice about whether or not to donate to charity and that it put diners in an ‘awkward position’.

The FRSB reviewed the campaign against industry standards, and established that promotional literature about the campaign had been placed on each table and displayed centrally within the restaurant. It found that all customers were also given the opportunity to opt out of making a donation at the point of paying for their meal. The charity had also carried out due diligence to ensure that the campaign was carried out appropriately.

The FRSB concluded that the fundraising initiative was compliant with the Institute of Fundraising’s Code of Fundraising Practice. However, it also noted the increasing popularity of this fundraising method, and has recommended that new guidance for this type of charitable donation should be developed and incorporated into the Code of Fundraising Practice.

Andrew Hind, chair of the , said:

“Discretionary donations have become increasingly common in restaurants and shops which want to generate income for charities as part of their social responsibility activity. It has become a popular way for many people to give to charity. As such, we recommend that further guidance is developed to support charities and third parties looking to fundraise in this way.”

The adjudication is available on the FRSB site:


Melanie May is a journalist and copywriter specialising in writing both for and about the charity and marketing services sectors since 2001. She can be reached via

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