Vulnerable Supporters Policy

Read about how we abide by the Institute of Fundraising Principles in our Vulnerable Supporters Policy.

When we are in contact with our supporters, Orbis UK abides by the Institute of Fundraising Principles:

  • Respect: treating all members of the public respectfully. This means being mindful of and sensitive to any particular need that a supporter may have. It also means striving to respect the wishes and preferences of the supporter
  • Fairness: treating all supporters fairly. This includes not discriminating against any group or individual based on their appearance or health conditions
  • Responsiveness: responding appropriately to the individual needs of our supporters. Our fundraisers will adapt their approach (tone, language, communication technique) to suit the needs and requirements of the supporter
  • Accountable: Orbis UK carries out fundraising in line with the Code of Fundraising Practice. We have considered the processes and procedures needed to fundraise to a high standard.

Orbis UK enables supporters to make informed decisions and we make sure the needs of people in vulnerable circumstances are taken into account.

The Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Act 2016 introduced new legislative requirements for charities to protect the vulnerable and to ensure that any third parties fundraising on their behalf maintain the same high standards.


Vulnerable Persons

By a vulnerable person we mean individuals, over 18 years of age who, either temporarily or permanently, lack the ability to make an informed decision.

This policy relates to the individual’s decision to donate money to Orbis UK.


Vulnerable Circumstances

Factors that may indicate that a supporter is vulnerable or is currently in vulnerable circumstances include:

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


Fundraising and the Vulnerable Person

Orbis UK follows the guidance on signs that an individual may be in vulnerable circumstances produced by the Institute of Fundraising.

These include situations where the supporter is:

  • Asking irrelevant and unrelated questions
  • Unable to read (or hear) and understand the information they are provided with
  • Responding in an irrational way to simple questions
  • Saying ‘yes’ or ‘no’ at times that it is clear they haven’t understood
  • Taking a long time or displaying difficulty in responding to simple questions or requests for information
  • Repeating simple questions such as ‘who are you’, ‘what charity is it’ and ‘what do you want’
  • Displaying signs of ill-health like breathlessness or making signs of exasperation or discontent
  • Giving a statement such as ‘I don’t usually do things like this, my husband/wife/son/daughter takes care of it for me’
  • Indicating in any way that they are feeling rushed, flustered, or experiencing a stressful situation
  • Having trouble remembering that they are already a regular supporter to Orbis UK or have recently made a donation
  • Donating an unexpectedly large gift with no prior relationship.

When communicating with supporters in vulnerable circumstances we do so sensitively and responsively and acknowledge that, at that moment in time, the supporter may not have the capacity to make an informed decision.

We are responsive to the needs of our supporters and when communicating with supporters we take every action we can to ensure that we:

  • Are patient and allow the supporter time to express themselves
  • Clarify anything that is unclear within the conversation
  • Offer information in an alternative format if requested
  • Respect supporters’ wishes.

Whenever we become aware that a supporter may be vulnerable we are very careful to ensure we deal with this appropriately.

Examples of the approach we take are set out below:

  • If we feel that a donation is being made by someone who does not fully understand the financial commitment they are making, then we will not process the donation
  • If a family member contacts us on behalf of a supporter and asks that we no longer contact them, or make changes to the way we contact them, we will ensure that these requests are promptly acted upon and amend our records accordingly. Where possible, we will then confirm our action with the supporter directly in case they did not wish the family member to act on their behalf
  • If we are aware that a supporter is in a care home then we will take extra care to ensure they are happy with the level of communication they receive.

If we suspect that a supporter lacks the capacity to make a decision about the donation we will not take the donation or it will be returned.