Photo: Hugh Fox

Gift Acceptance Policy

The purpose of the Gift Acceptance & due diligence document is for internal use by the BDBF Development department is to ensure best fundraising practice.

This document should be read in conjunction with BDFL’s organisational Ethical Policy. BDFL’s Ethical Policy related to fundraising and acceptance of gifts is as follows:

4.1 BDFL will not accept funds or gifts, in circumstances when:

  • The donation is made anonymously, through an intermediary who is not prepared to identify the donor to anyone at BDFL
  • The donor has acted, or is believed to have acted, illegally in the acquisition of funds or gifts, for example when funds or gifts are tainted through being the proceeds of criminal conduct
  • When acceptance of funds or gifts would, in the judgment of the senior management and/or trustees, significantly damage the effective operation of BDFL in delivering its vision and goals, particularly if in accepting them it would adversely affect BDFL relationship with other benefactors, partners, visitors or stakeholders
  • It creates unacceptable conflicts of interest; materially damages the reputation of BDFL; or, detrimentally affects the ability of BDFL to carry out its vision
  • the donor’s gift (including legacies) from person or persons who are unable to fully comprehend (at that time) that they are making a gift or the consequences for themselves of making that gift.

Brighton Dome & Festival Limited - commitment to its supporters

BDFL is grateful to the many companies, charitable trusts, individuals and public bodies that make generous financial contributions towards its work. BDFL makes the following commitment to its supporters:

  • we will be honest, truthful, transparent and professional in the way we deal with supporters;
  • we will not encourage supporters in any way to change an existing charitable donation to another fundraising organisation;
  • we will speedily acknowledge gifts, handle them responsibly and apply them to the purpose for which it was given;
  • we will respect the supporter’s privacy and will release details of their gift only with consent or in the event that disclosure is required by law;
  • we will keep supporters informed about the project they are supporting in an honest and accessible manner;
  • we will comply with all domestic and international legislation, including tax legislation, GDPR 2018 and the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002
  • we will respond swiftly and efficiently to any concerns supporters may have about our fundraising.

Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival - commitment to good fundraising practice

BDFL is reliant on private income to maintain the depth and breadth of its programme. Our Development team is employed to research, solicit and process sponsorship, donations and membership from individuals, charitable trusts, businesses and public bodies.

All those fundraising on behalf of BDFL are expected to:

  • act always in the best interests of BDFL;
  • behave in a professional manner at all times, demonstrating the highest levels of integrity;
  • observe BDFL’s commitment to its supporters, as well as all relevant domestic and international legislation, including Tax legislation, the GDPR 2018, the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and Charity Commission law;
  • read, observe and regularly review the Fundraising Regulator’s Codes of Fundraising Practice;
  • take care not to exploit their office or relations with donors or suppliers for personal gain;
  • disclose to the Chief Executive any financial or other personal interests which might reasonably be thought by others to conflict with the interests of BDFL or its donors. This includes questions over whether it is appropriate to take Board and advisory positions for other organisations;
  • disclose to donors any financial or other personal interests which might be affected by a donation from them;
  • consider the appropriateness and proportionality of any gift that they are offered by a donor and to ensure that they are not influenced on the question of how to apply or whether to accept a contribution as a result of receiving a gift or gift from a supporter.

Where a fundraiser cannot abide by the above code, s/he should declare this to the Head/s of Development, who can arrange for an alternative representative of BDFL to work with the donor if appropriate.

Due diligence:

Fundraisers are expected to carry out due diligence on all prospective contributions of £500 and above, looking in particular at both the financial and reputational dealings of potential partners before funding is accepted. The financial, reputational and legal risks of turning down the donation should also be considered. Fundraising staff should use publicly available material designed to highlight potential areas of controversy, as well as, where appropriate, the advice of individuals who have knowledge of the specific funders or their context. In researching this information it is important to distinguish between mere allegation, rumour or speculation and confirmed fact or legal finding, although not disregarding the first if public perception alone carries a reputational risk for BDFL, irrespective of the underlying truth.

BDFL follows the Fundraising Regulator’s Code of Practice regarding best research practice.

All sponsorship and donations should be channelled through the Development team to ensure adherence to the policy.

Process for Review of Gift Acceptability & due diligence guidelines for fundraisers and volunteers and committee members:

All donors and sponsors with potential to give £1,000 or above should be researched in line with BDFL’s policy on accepting sponsorship, donations and membership. Additional research and referral to the Head/s of Development should always be undertaken in the case of:

  • potential major donations of £50k and above
  • potential naming rights
  • tobacco, alcohol or pharmaceutical firms
  • companies working in or closely connected with the arms trade
  • a potential major gift or Patron membership from an individual, company or trust from an emerging market
  • instances where initial research indicates that the potential donor may have been involved in illegal activity, whether verified or not

Ultimate responsibility for the rejection, acceptance and return of fundraising income lies with senior management/the Board of BDFL (see Ethical Policy).

Fundraisers and volunteers are responsible for referring potential risks to the Head/s of Development before contact is made with a prospective donor whose activities might fall into one of the areas described above, or as early as possible in the negotiation process.

In turn, the Head/s of Development may refer the first stage of decision to the Chief Executive, and if needed, to members of the Board whose remit is to:

  • make decisions on behalf of BDFL on issues referred to them by fundraisers –
  • where a sponsorship, donation or membership might be rejected,
  • where a fundraiser is in doubt over whether acceptance is advisable,
  • where there are conflicting views between fundraisers and other departments;
  • recommend referral to the Charity Commission where the correct course of action remains uncertain or where clarification is required to ensure that BDFL’s legal obligations are met;
  • assess the potential impact of negative publicity around acceptance and rejection and advise the Marketing & Communications Department on the rationale behind decisions;
  • advise the main Board on issues of risk around the acceptance and rejection of sponsorship, donations or membership;
  • review this policy annually and ensure that compliance with its terms is monitored from time to time.

Any potential gifts referred to the Chief Executive on which a decision cannot be reached will be considered by all available members of the Board. To allow timely action to be taken, potential gifts can be considered by the Board outside of the normal meeting cycle, and discussions can be undertaken virtually without the need to convene a physical meeting.

The Development department needs to ensure compliance with UK government sanctions against certain countries to ensure that we accept only funds which can be legally received. Each member of staff dealing with donors is responsible for this. The link to the Government website is as follows. Please be aware that this list will change from time to time.

Sometimes the acceptability of a donor or sponsor changes over time, perhaps because of a change in their business practice, because new information comes to light or because of changes in society’s attitudes towards a particular industry, business practice or so forth. Where a donor fulfils the above criteria, research should be annually updated by the Development department with any new issues referred to the Chief Executive.

On returning a contribution from a donor/sponsor:

In exceptional circumstances, for example where new information comes to light regarding the issues listed above, a contribution may be returned to the donor. However, once accepted by BDFL, a donation or sponsorship must only returned to a donor at their request if the terms and conditions of the gift provide for it to be returned, where the law specifically provides for the gift to be returned, and by way of an ex-gratia payment.

Further information on Code of Fundraising Practice can be found here:

 Code of Fundraising Practice: Key Principles and Behaviours

 L7 Acceptance and Refusal of Donations

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