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Returning or not accepting a donation – Ethical Fundraising Policy

The Brain Tumour Charity is committed to its charitable aims and fundraises to meet its goals of doubling survival and halving the harm that brain tumours have on quality of life.   

We strive for the highest possible standards in our fundraising and are registered with the Fundraising Regulator (link). We comply with their fundraising code and key principles and behaviours of being open, honest, legal and fair. 

Below is information on: 

  • When we would consider returning or not accepting a donation 
  • When and how we would carry out due diligence 

You can also download our full ethical fundraising policy here.  

Any questions? Please get in touch – we would love to hear from you 

Thank you for your continued support. If you have any further questions, please contact our Supporter Care team on 01252 749990 or email us at enquiries@thebraintumourcharity.org  


Donor: The individual or organisation who is making the donation 

The Charity: The Brain Tumour Charity 

Partnership: A formal relationship between The Charity and a 3rd party 


When deciding whether to accept any particular donation or partnership, we have a duty to demonstrate to the Charity Commission that we have acted in the best interest of the charity, and that association with any particular donor does not compromise The Brain Tumour Charity’s ethical position, harm our reputation or put any future funding at risk.   

In order to achieve this, all potential major donors and corporate partners go through a due diligence process guided by a comprehensive checklist of tests.  If any significant risk is identified, the decision whether or not to proceed will be taken by the Chief Executive and escalated to the Governance and Ethics Committee, as appropriate. 

The Charity will not accept any financial support or partnerships with individuals or companies whose activities appear to be in direct conflict with the best interests of those we support, for example, companies that manufacture tobacco.   

The Brain Tumour Charity’s name should not be used in a way that could imply the endorsement of an organisation itself, its policies, products and services without written approval.   

Supporter Groups, Family Led Charities, Donors and volunteers may not commit The Charity to any partnership with an individual/company/brand without first taking advice from their representative at The Brain Tumour Charity. 

In the event of requesting a refund please contact our Supporter Care team (01252 749990 or email us at enquiries@thebraintumourcharity.org) or speak to your regular contact at the Charity. 

If we’re unable to find evidence of your donation, we will set out our requirements dependant on the circumstances, but we’re likely to require evidence in the form of a bank or other financial statement. 

When would we consider returning a donation? 

When a donation has been made in error 

We would return a donation if money had been taken in error. Examples include: 

  • If a donor has double-clicked on the online payment page and the donation had been processed twice. 
  • If an additional zero was added in error to the donation, or the wrong amount was processed 
  • If there is a technical error on our online payment forms that caused donations to be taken in error 
  • If there is a mix-up with the name of the Charity and they actually meant their donation to go somewhere else.  

If the initial donation was made over 12 months ago, we may refer the request to the Director of Finance and reserve the right to take to our board.  

Under the Direct Debit Guarantee 

If an error is made in the payment of a Direct Debit e.g. a higher payment or more frequent payments than agreed are taken then the donor is entitled to a full and immediate refund. 

If the agreement with the donor can no longer be fulfilled 

There may be occasions where we cannot fulfil the terms of the Gift Agreement with a donor.  It may be that the project ceases to exist or the funds are no longer required for that area. In this case, we would have in-depth discussions with the donors to see whether their funds could be re-directed to support another area of the Charity’s work. If no agreement can be reached then the funds would be returned to the donor. 

If agreement can not be reached with the Donor and the donation is over £1,000, we will refer to the Charity Commission for their permission.  

For reputational/ethical reasons 

The Brain Tumour Charity exercise’s due diligence in the acceptance of all donations. The Charity will not accept donations which are judged to be unethical or put the reputation of the Charity at unacceptable risk. This is outlined in our Ethical Fundraising policy available for download here

When would we not consider returning a donation? 

We would only consider returning donations in line with the criteria outlined above. Additionally, to make it completely transparent we would not return donations for the following scenarios: 

Where the funds have already been spent 

We are unable to process any requests for refunds once the funds have already been spent. It would not be in the best interests of the Charity to have to re-route other funds in order to return money to the donor. 

Where an appeal has surplus funds 

Occasionally in our Direct Marketing Appeals, we include a specific target needed for an area of work or equipment. If the target is reached and no further funds are needed in this area the Fundraising team will work with the Donor to find a suitable alternative to direct the funds. 

If agreement can not be reached with the Donor and the donation is over £1,000, we will refer to the Charity Commission for their permission.     

Where the overall total is made up of multiple individual donations 

As a general rule, The Charity will not refund donations to a single individual or recipient where the overall total is clearly made up of individual donations.  Examples include to an individual who has raised money from multiple donors through completing a challenge event run or an organisation (including the named lead for a fundraising group) which has undertaken multiple fundraising strategies including events for which The Charity’s branding or badging has been used to generate interest.