When is a person classed as vulnerable?
We recognise that some of the people we engage with through our fundraising activities will not always be able to fully understand the nature of the donation they are being asked to make to Christians Against Poverty, or the consequences of making that donation.
An individual who finds it difficult to immediately make an informed decision about the choices offered to them is classed as a ‘vulnerable person’.
A vulnerable person may or have experienced:
A diagnosed condition such as dementia
A recent bereavement
An undiagnosed or temporary mental health condition such as severe anxiety
Difficulty understanding the English language
Intoxication through drugs or alcohol
Our obligation to protect vulnerable people
Christians Against Poverty has an obligation to protect vulnerable people and those in vulnerable circumstances. Whenever we suspect that someone we engage with is lacking capacity or is in vulnerable circumstances – we call them a ‘vulnerable supporter’ – we will take steps to terminate the contract in a way which seeks to:
- Protect that person
- Protect their dignity
- Note any desire they have expressed to support CAP
Fundraising and vulnerable supporters
If one of our fundraisers suspects that a person they are engaging with may be vulnerable, they must end the conversation immediately. They should do this politely, without:
- Making a request for a donation
- Asking about the individual’s capacity to make a decision or the existence of vulnerable circumstances
We know that it may be difficult in some situations for fundraisers to decide whether or not someone is in vulnerable circumstances or lacks capacity. We provide guidelines for fundraisers but our approach is always to err on the side of caution.
This applies to all fundraising by our direct employees and volunteers.
We believe everyone has the right to donate if they wish to and are able to do so. That’s why we offer further support for people in vulnerable circumstances who want to make a decision about whether to make a donation.
Our policy is informed by the Institute of Fundraising’s (IoF) code of fundraising practice and their guidance, Treating Donors Fairly.
In particular the code states:
‘Fundraisers must take all reasonable steps to treat a donor fairly, enabling them to make an informed decision about any donation. This must include taking into account the needs of any potential donor who may be in a vulnerable circumstance or require additional care and support to make an informed decision; and Fundraisers must not exploit the credulity, lack of knowledge, apparent need for care and support or vulnerable circumstance of any donor at any point in time.’
Our vulnerable person policy
- CAP is committed to treating every supporter with compassion, and vulnerable people will never be exploited.
- CAP always strives to assist supporters in making informed decisions about their support of CAP.
- We fully comply with the Fundraising Regulator’s Code of Fundraising Practice.
- When dealing with supporters over the phone, we follow guidance provided by the Direct Marketing Association (DMA). CAP employs a team of telephone fundraising professionals who have been trained to follow DMA’s guidelines for call centres dealing with vulnerable consumers (August 2015).
- We allow supporters or those acting on their behalf to declare vulnerability. They can do this by contacting our Supporter Care team by emailing [email protected] or calling 01274 670 766.
- We do not contact a supporter with the aim of asking for an increase in their giving where the supporter’s records indicate a declaration of vulnerability. Supporters can declare their vulnerability with us by contacting the Supporter Care team. Family members who hold power of attorney can also get in touch with the Supporter Care team.
- Regardless of whether a declaration of vulnerability has been made or not, We do not accept donations where we have reason to believe that a supporter may be experiencing vulnerable circumstances and that accepting the donation would be ethically wrong and/or harmful to the supporter.
- Should a situation arise where we become aware that we have unknowingly accepted donations from an individual during a time that he or she was experiencing vulnerable circumstances, we will endeavour to return all donations accepted during this period.
Should CAP receive information regarding a supporter’s vulnerability from a third party, we will not act on any request to alter the supporter’s preferences unless the third party can provide evidence that he or she has authority to act on behalf of the supporter.
CAP recognises that it may sometimes be difficult for fundraisers to assess the vulnerability of a supporter; in cases where a fundraiser is unsure, they must ask their manager for a second opinion and approval to accept any donation.
If you believe you have interacted with a vulnerable supporter and you are concerned about their welfare, you must follow CAP’s safeguarding policy or contact our safeguarding lead, Mark Clayton, at [email protected].