The Irish Charities Regulator has renewed its call to the public to take steps to ensure that unwanted clothing and other items they intend to donate to charity through house-to-house collections, actually go to registered charities.
Charities Regulator Chief Executive Helen Martin said: “Our compliance team have received an increasing flow of concerns from the public about individuals and organisations who are carrying out house-to-house collections, but are not registered charities.”
From January 2019 to the end of October 2019, the Charities Regulator received 133 reports from the public, expressing concern about people and/or organisations operating house-to-house collections for unwanted clothing and other goods, and querying whether or not they were registered charities.
“We are concerned in the increasing number of reports we are receiving and also the increasing trend in this regard”, Ms Martin said.
Increasing public awareness of unlawful collections
She added that organisations engaged in unlawful clothing collections will continue to operate in this manner only for as long as people continue to make donations to them. She one way they are hoping to address the issue is by increasing public awareness around the issue and encouraging members of the public who wish to donate unwanted items to charity, to check the public Register of Charities.
Irish radio is also carrying advertisements warning people about bogus collectors.
Leaflets and bags received for clothing collections from registered charities should clearly display the following information the charity’s name, logo. registered charity number and contact details. Potential donors can assure themselves that any organisation seeking a donation is a registered charity by checking the publicly available Register of Charities on the Regulator’s site.
Charities should publicise where they are holding collections
The regulator also said that charities engaged in fundraising by way of clothing collections from the public, including collections by third parties on the charity’s behalf, should ensure that they have information readily available to the public about where they are carrying out collections.
Under Section 41 of the Charities Act 2009 (the 2009 Act) it is an offence for any person to advertise on behalf of, to invite members of the public to give money or property to, or to accept such money or property on behalf of a charitable organisation that is not registered, or for an unregistered charitable organisation to carry on such activities.
The Irish Charities Regulator liaises with An Garda Síochána in respect of these matters on an ongoing basis and advises anyone who suspects a charity is not legitimate to contact An Garda Síochána.
The Charities Regulator’s public update document contains examples of labels in respect of clothing collections by organisations that are not registered charitable organisations, which were brought to our attention by members of the public.
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