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Dublin: 10 °C Monday 18 March, 2019
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'It can be damaging': People warned to avoid bogus charity collectors over Christmas

ICHH said that people posing as their volunteers had been reported collecting.

Image: Jonathan Brady/PA

IRISH PEOPLE HAVE been warned to ensure they are donating to proper regulated charities on the run up to Christmas, after reports of people posing as a homeless charity to collect money. 

Anthony Flynn – CEO of Dublin charity Inner City Helping Homeless – said that he had been made aware of people posing as volunteers from his organisation carrying out bucket collections. 

“Please be aware we have been advised that 2 individuals in the Pearse Street, Irishtown/Ringsend area are purported to be operating a bucket collection in the area on behalf of Inner City Helping Homeless,” Flynn posted on Facebook. 

We have no bucket collectors in the area and have not authorised such on our behalf.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie, Flynn said that incidents like this had happened before, and he advised people to take extra care when they’re donating.

“Fundraising is a big part of our operation… We don’t take any government funding whatsoever so its very important to us,” he said. 

Everybody is busy this time of year and Christmas is the time for giving… but before [people] donate they should check to make sure that the charity they are donating to is legitimate. 

Flynn said that bogus collectors can have a negative effect on the operations of legitimate charities. 

“If you don’t know who you’re giving to you don’t know where the money is going or where it will end up,” he said. 

Regulation 

The Charities Regulator is responsible for the regulation of all charities and charitable activities in Ireland.

It was established in October 2014 under the terms of the Charities Act (2009).

Its primary function is to set up and maintain a public register of charitable organisations operating in Ireland and ensure their compliance with the Charities Acts.

The Charities Act was brought into law with the purpose of regulating the not-for-profit sector in Ireland, which previously had much less in the way of proper guidelines for operations and accountability.

In the past, a more ad hoc approach was taken by charities, with many operating with little oversight or regulation. In a lot of cases, this led to various issues in terms of financial mismanagement and improper governance. 

As of the last few years, it is a requirement that every charity be registered with the regulator. Charities must fulfill certain criteria to be registered.

All these means that people claiming to be collecting for a certain charity should be able to prove that they are an official, registered organisation. 

Tips

The regulator issued advice to people looking to donate over the Christmas period. Tips (among others) include:

  • Check the charity name, logo and Registered Charity Number (RCN) that appear on any collection leaflets;
  • Ensure any fundraising materials have clear contact and registration details
    for the charity;
  • Check that the person collecting the donation has official identification and
    has a permit to collect in that particular area;

Anthony Flynn said that collectors should be able to produce identification and documentation to prove they are legitimate if someone asks.

As well as this, anyone carrying out bucket collection is required to have a permit dated and signed by the local garda superintendent. 

“We encourage people to check 100% if [collectors] are legitimate and collecting on behalf of a registered charity,” Flynn said.

He also said that the safest way of donating money is probably online through a charity’s website.  

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About the author:

Cormac Fitzgerald

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