A judge has criticised a major Irish charity for not having a proper system to authorise volunteer collectors.
The public expect that collectors should be well vetted and the correct permits be in place before people were authorised to collect charitable funds, the judge said during a court case involving illegal collections.
Two men admitted illegally collecting funds for Barnardos and used a letter from Barnardos acknowledging participation in a sponsored swim when asked for authorisation by the police.
The judge said: “Irish people are very generous but they depend on chief executives to create a system which is foolproof and make it quite clear what the needs are.”
He said the Barnardos letter appeared to be offering carte blanche permission, effectively stating: “Here’s the t-shirt, go out and collect.”
The two men, who were fined €300, collected with a bucket and wearing t-shirts for the charity in the street at the Diamond, Donegal town, according to a report in the Irish Times.
The Charity Regulator in Ireland last year published a new set of guidelines which included guidance on how charities should interact with volunteer fundraisers.
The guidelines say that trustees should be assured that any donations sought indirectly, such as through third party agents, are solicited and received in conformity with the law, the charity’s own fundraising policies and procedures and the guidelines. In addition, trustees should ensure that the charity has a policy for any activities involving volunteers, including how they are contracted and managed.