Fundraising Policy

Birmingham Botanical Gardens Ethical Fundraising Policy with Appendices: Fundraising Promise and Complaints Procedure

Updated April 2023 (acceptance of donations, Fundraising Promise & Complaints)

1. Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to ensure fundraising relationships do not directly or indirectly support activities counter to the charitable mission and objects of Birmingham Botanical Gardens. The policy seeks to protect the charity’s reputation by supporting decision-making on funding opportunities and provide guidance on the types of funders the charity will or will not be associated with in pursuing fundraising to support the delivery of the charity’s purpose.

All BBG’s fundraising/staff and trustees have a responsibility to be aware of the ethical issues referred to in this policy, agreed by the Board of Trustees. The Charity will review new funding partnerships at the Development Sub Committee and review the policy at the full Trust Board as necessary. Fundraising is regulated by the Fundraising Regulator an independent, non-statutory body that regulates fundraising across the charitable sector in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. They set and maintain the standards for charitable fundraising in the Code of Fundraising Practice to ensure that fundraising is legal, honest, open, and respectful to the public. The Regulator also investigates complaints from the public about fundraising (where those complaints have not been resolved by the charities themselves).

This policy sets out how BBG manages ethical issues and social responsibility within fundraising. The charity aims at all times to be open, honest, fair and to operate in a legal way that meets not only the law, but also fundraising regulation and best practice, including the Code of Fundraising Practice.

2. Charitable Vision/Objects and rationale for fundraising

Vision: A diverse botanical world that enhances all our lives.
Mission: To support plant biodiversity and understanding of its importance to the natural environment through conservation, education, engagement, and enjoyment.

Charitable Objects: To further public education in botany, horticulture, and zoology and to encourage and provide facilities for scientific study and research therein and to increase and diffuse knowledge thereof and interest therein and to provide, maintain and preserve gardens, grounds, buildings, and lands in or about the city of Birmingham for the said purposes and for the recreation of the public.

There is a need to fundraise at BBG to secure cash donations to help guarantee the availability of ongoing funds to pay for the charity’s work. BBG requires a broad base of different sources of funding. BBG may also seek partnerships to strengthen the ability of the charity to operate successfully and assist in accessing funds and support in kind.

3. Donors and Supporters

BBG respects the rights of its supporters to clear, truthful information on its charitable work. The charity will openly report how donations are spent and will manage donors’ information responsibly in line with The General Data Protection Regulation. We will comply with the guidance issued by the Charity Regulators and UK law in every respect, including those regarding openness and honesty with our supporters and members of the public. As members of the Fundraising Regulator’s scheme, we follow its Fundraising Promise. (See attached)

4. Vulnerable Individuals

In line with the Fundraising Regulator’s Code our fundraising practices consider the needs of any possible donor who may be in vulnerable circumstances or may need extra care and information to make an informed decision.

We respect the privacy and contact preferences of all donors and will respond promptly to requests to update contact preferences or, if they arise, any complaints and act as best we can to address the causes. Please see our Privacy Policy for more information.

We will not place any undue pressure on individuals to donate. We do not either solicit nor accept donations from anyone whom we know or think may not be competent to make their own decisions. We are sensitive to any needs that a donor may have.

5. Reputational Risk

We have a responsibility to all BBG stakeholders to consider the ethical issues that may arise in working with, or accepting funding from, an organisation or individual and the associated risks to reputation and charitable objectives. Donations, funding, and partnerships which may pose a reputational risk to BBG means those which could lead to negative publicity, loss of donations from other supporters or other income, loss of volunteers’ services, loss of staff or the inability to recruit staff with the necessary skills.

6. Context for accepting donations

BBG actively seeks opportunities to work with external organisations and individuals to achieve shared objectives. However, it is vital that BBG maintains its independence and does not allow any external partnership to bring the charity into disrepute. BBG seeks financial support from, and partnership working with, organisations, companies, and individuals on the following conditions:

  • There are strong grounds for believing that it will result in a benefit to the charity’s beneficiaries.
  • Development Director, CEO and Trustees are satisfied that no adverse publicity will result from acceptingsuch support.
  • There is no attempt on the part of the company or individual to influence BBG’s policy or actions eitherexplicitly or implicitly.
  • That initiatives do not compromise the independent status of the charity.
  • The company does not participate in business practices that are counter to BBG’s mission/charitablepurpose.

7. Acceptance Criteria

In deciding whether to accept any donation, BBG needs to be able to demonstrate to the Charity Commission that they have acted in the best interest of the charity, and that association with any particular donor does not compromise the organisation’s ethical position, harm its reputation, damage future fundraising or put future funding at risk. In addition, the charity complies with all relevant legislation, including money laundering rules, the Bribery Act and Charity Commission guidance, including terrorism and political activity.

BBG does not accept money from any charitable Trust where its main source funding might run contrary to its aims, or if it is a requirement of grant receipt to advertise any company or organisation whose activities run contrary to its aims. Simply because a Trust has been registered with the Charity Commission does not mean they are ethical givers. Additional checks will be made for unsolicited and anonymous significant donations. A donation may be refused if additional checks cannot provide enough assurance that the source complies with this policy.

In line with Charity Commission guidance, if a donation of £25,000 or more is received from an unknown or unverifiable source, it is to be reported to the Charity Commission. This only applies when the donor is completely anonymous, not when the donor is known to the Organisation but wishes to remain publicly anonymous.

8. Refusal Criteria

BBG abides by the law which requires us, in deciding whether to accept or refuse a donation, to consider which action is in the charity’s best overall interest.

BBG does not screen individual donations by their employers, this is inclusive of any matched corporate donations that may be received as part of an individual’s fundraising efforts. This is outside the scope of this policy and the capacity of this charity.

BBG will not undertake business with companies or individuals who participate in activities which could be detrimental to the charity’s reputation or could decrease the amount of donations to further the work of the charity. The responsibility of the judgement on whether BBG should refuse a donation lays first with the Development Director, then the Chief Executive and ultimately the Board of Trustees.

BBG will not accept any funding from companies directly involved in activities that run contrary to its overall charitable objectives. It will not accept financial support or partnerships with companies associated with criminal sources/or illegal activity. BBG will not accept donations from any organisation or individual who has generated a material amount of their turnover or wealth through the following activities:

Animal testing; genetic engineering; manufacture of arms, environmentally hazardous products, or chemicals; military contracts; mining; nuclear power; third world debt; third world marketing; the manufacture of tobacco; pornography or the sex industry; UK National Lottery excepted, gambling and gaming; and water pollution or aspects of an organisation or individual’s life which may be counter to BBG’s purposes and values.

9. Commercial partners & cause-related marketing

BBG does not actively endorse commercial products or services in return for payment or donations and will remain neutral on political issues unless they directly impact the charity mission or ethos. Where BBG accepts advertisements from third parties for display on a website or other information product it will be clearly identified as advertising. It may be acceptable to highlight third party campaigns, which directly benefit our charity with fundraising activities, avoiding endorsement of specific products. To ensure that all cause-related promotion reflects the charity’s values, any potential initiative will be reviewed by the Fundraising Director for a decision.

BBG will not share access to its database and beneficiaries with commercial partners.

10. Restricted Donations

If supporters or donors wish a donation to be used in a specific way, or for a specific purpose, they may make a restricted donation by providing written instructions with their donation. Where no written restrictions are provided directly by the funder BBG will identify appropriate commitment of funding, acting with integrity to the funder and in the best interests of the charity.

11. Independence

BBG recognises that, in accepting funding from statutory bodies, it must consider the policy implications and obligations that might be tied to it. BBG will not allow any supporter to compromise our policy independence. All supporters and staff associated with these supporters, must be clear that the positions we take are based on an independent assessment of the most effective way to advance BBG’s charitable purpose and not constrained in any way by the policy or priorities of any organisations or individuals that support us.

12. Approval and Review

Trustee Board Approved 17 March. Review Date March 2024.

Appendix 1: Fundraising Regulator -Fundraising Promise.

This promise outlines the commitment made to donors and the public by fundraising organisations, like BBG, which register with the Fundraising Regulator. Those who register with the Regulator agree to ensure their fundraising is legal, open, honest, and respectful. The standards for fundraising are set out in the Chartered Institute of Fundraising’s Code of Fundraising Practice:

We will commit to high standards.

  • We will adhere to the Fundraising Code of Practice.
  • We will monitor fundraisers, volunteers and third parties working with us to raise funds, to ensure that they comply with the Code of Fundraising Practice and with this Promise.
  • We will comply with the law as it applies to charities and fundraising.
  • We will display the Fundraising Regulator badge on our fundraising material to show we are committed to good practice.

We will be clear, honest and open.

  • We will tell the truth and we will not exaggerate.
  • We will do what we say we are going to do with donations we receive.
  • We will be clear about who we are and what we do.
  • We will give a clear explanation of how you can make a gift and change a regular donation.
  • Where we ask a third party to fundraise on our behalf, we will make this relationship and the financial arrangement transparent.
  • We will be able to explain our fundraising costs and show how they are in the best interests of our cause if challenged.
  • We will ensure our complaints process is clear and easily accessible.
  • We will provide clear and evidence- based reasons for our decisions on complaints.

We will be respectful.

  • We will respect your rights and privacy.
  • We will not put undue pressure on you to make a gift. If you do not want to give or wish to cease giving, we will respect your decision.
  • We will have a procedure for dealing with people in vulnerable circumstances and it will be available on request.
  • Where the law requires, we will get your consent before we contact you to fundraise.
  • If you tell us that you don’t want us to contact you in a particular way we will not do so. We will work with the Telephone, Mail and Fundraising Preference Services to ensure that those who choose not to receive specific types of communication don’t have to.

We will be fair and reasonable.

  • We will treat donors and the public fairly, showing sensitivity and adapting our approach depending on your needs.
  • We will take care not to use any images or words that intentionally cause distress or anxiety.
  • We will take care not to cause nuisance or disruption to the public.

We will be accountable and responsible.

  • We will manage our resources responsibly and consider the impact of our fundraising on our donors, supporters and the wider public.
  • If you are unhappy with anything we’ve done whilst fundraising, you can contact us to make a complaint. We will listen to feedback and respond appropriately to compliments and criticism we receive.
  • We will have a complaints procedure, a copy of which will be available on our website or available on request.
  • Our complaints procedure will let you know how to contact the Fundraising Regulator if you feel our response is unsatisfactory.
  • We will monitor and record the number of complaints we receive each year and share this data with the Fundraising Regulator on request.

Appendix 2: Complaints Policy Fundraising

How to make a complaint

You can call by phone, write, or email us about your complaint, and we will help. BBG welcomes your feedback, comments, suggestions, good and bad- and where necessary your complaints. Without them, we cannot improve.

Our promise and commitment to you

We promise to take your complaints seriously and to deal with them as quickly as possible.

Step 1: Contact BBG

The first step is to contact us. The best way to do this is by email, or to find out exactly what’s happened and try to resolve the situation. Please include your full name, address, contact telephone number and details about your complaint. We will try to resolve the problem straight away if we can. If we are unable to do this, we will record your complaint and agree the best way and time to contact you. This will normally be within five working days. If you prefer to write to us about your complaint please send your letter, including your name, address, and contact telephone number, to:

BBG Visitor Services or Development Team
Birmingham Botanical Gardens
Westbourne Road
B15 3TR

Step 2: Investigation

BBG will investigate any complaint thoroughly to find out all the facts and understand the issues. If we haven’t been able to investigate and resolve your complaint within 5 working days, we will let you know when you can expect a full response. We aim to respond in full to complaints within 21 working days.

Step 3: The next step

If after receiving our written response you are not content with it, please let us know in writing by letter or email. Your complaint may be passed to our Chief Executive for further investigation and response. You can expect to receive a full response within 14 working days of us getting your most recent letter or email.

Step 4: Taking your fundraising complaint outside the organisation
If your complaint is about our fundraising work or activities and you are not satisfied with our response, you are entitled to take it to the Fundraising Regulator. As a member of the Fundraising Regulator, Birmingham Botanical Gardens is committed to abiding by any decision they reach on complaints that are escalated to them.

Fundraising Regulator
Eagle House
167 City Road

Tel: 0300 999 3407

If your complaint is about any other aspect of our charitable work, you may wish to contact the Charity Commission Website: