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Vulnerability Policy

In all our dealings with supporters Ripple Effect’s Supporter Care team adhere to the following principles:

  • Respect – treating all members of the public respectfully. This means being mindful of and sensitive to any particular need that a donor may have. It also means striving to respect the wishes and preferences of the donor, whatever they may be.
  • Fairness – all donors should be treated fairly. This includes not discriminating against any group or individual based on their appearance or any personal characteristic.
  • Responsiveness – this means responding appropriately to the different needs that a donor may have. The onus should be on the fundraiser to adapt his or her approach (tone, language, communication technique) to suit the needs and requirements of the donor.

Ripple Effect follows the principles and guidelines outlined by The Institute of Fundraising. For full details, please visit:

Vulnerable Supporters

The Supporter Care team are always sensitive to signs that may indicate that the individual is in vulnerable circumstances and needs support to make an informed decision and take appropriate steps.

If we reasonably believe the individual lacks capacity to make that decision then a donation will not be taken or will be returned.

What does ‘vulnerable circumstance’ mean?

  • Physical and mental medical conditions
  • Disability
  • Learning difficulties
  • Times of stress or anxiety (e.g., bereavement, redundancy)
  • Financial vulnerability (where a gift from a donor may impact on their ability to
    sufficiently care for themselves or leave them in financial hardship)
  • English not being the donor’s first language
  • Influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Where people live (for example, in supported housing)

When we will not accept a donation

According to the mental health act, if the supporter is unable to demonstrate any of the capacities below, they can be deemed unable to make an informed decision and we must not accept the donation:

  1. understand the information relevant to the decision,
  2. retain that information,
  3. use or weigh that information as part of the process of making the decision, or
  4. communicate his or her decision (whether by talking, using sign language or any other means).

If we suspect vulnerable circumstances

We never wish to offend supporters. However, the risk of taking donations from someone who is unable to make an informed decision outweighs the risk of causing offence by asking additional questions. Steps we will take include:

  • Check and confirm that they really do want, and are able, to make the donation.
  • Ask if they would like to talk to anybody else before making a decision or suggest “maybe you need some more time to consider whether you’d like to support us.”
  • If they are in financial difficulty, suggest other ways of making a difference and supporting our work without putting themselves in financial hardship
  • Update our database with accurate records
  • Send no further fundraising appeals to the supporter. The supporter may want to continue receiving updates about our work depending on circumstances.
  • If the supporter is adamant they understand and still wish to make the donation or it comes by post, we will accept the donation but in our response we will offer to refund the donation in case of error and continue to monitor the situation for future donations.

Third party contact

We follow the Institute of Fundraising guidelines that state:

If a third party contacts the charity e.g. a family member of the donor, the charity must be satisfied that the third party making the request is entitled to act on behalf of the individual. It is the third party’s responsibility to provide evidence of this entitlement. This might be a written authority on behalf of the donor, or might be a more general power of attorney for the third party to administer the donor’s affairs. In some cases a formal power of attorney may not be in place and the charity may instead have to rely on a written authority on behalf of the donor.

If the supporter is suffering ill health or does not have the capacity to notify us of changes to their contact details, donations etc. we may, if appropriate, act on requests by the family member. But we will always confirm our action in writing to the supporter directly in case they did not wish the family member to act on their behalf.