Our complaints policy
Population Matters is committed to being open and honest in all our dealings with our donors and members. It is important that those who give us support in any way have access to a accredited means of making a complaint and that this can be, if necessary, examined by an outside agency. In this case the investigation and resolution of complaints will be carried out by the Fundraising Standard Board (FRSB).
Definition of a complaint
The FRSB will deal with all complaints that are concerned with a breach of the Institute of Fundraising’s Codes of Fundraising Practice or a breach of the Fundraising Promise provided that the complainant has first directed the complaint to the charity concerned but is not satisfied with the answer received.
Complaints made by telephone
We will gather the facts using open questions. At the end of the call we will summarise the call to confirm that we have understood the situation. If appropriate, we will then try to resolve the complaint over the phone. If you are satisfied with our action, then that is the end of the action and we will note the complaint in the report which is submitted annually to the Fundraising Standards Board. If you are not satisfied, then we will proceed as detailed in the section 6 below. In any case, we will take your contact details and acknowledge the complaint in writing within 14 days, including a summary of your telephone conversation and confirmation that the complaint will be dealt with within 30 days.
Complaints made in writing by post or email
We will acknowledge the complaint in writing within 14 days, confirming that we will seek to resolve the complaint within 30 days. At this stage, further contact with you will only be made where we have insufficient details to take the complaint forward.
We will establish the area of our operation the complaint involves. Having first consulted with relevant staff, we will make contact with the chair of the board or other appropriate person to inform them of the situation and gather any relevant information regarding the materials and/or circumstances of the case.
If a third party is involved, we will also speak to them to gather any information about the circumstances of the complaint. We will take care to record all the important points and file these with the case.
Having gathered all the relevant information, we will consult with the chair of the trustees (or another person appointed in the chair’s absence), the staff concerned and suppliers, if they have been implicated.
The assessment should set out the nature of the complaint and determine what action needs to be taken. If the complaint is about fundraising, then we will make a note on whether it is about an alleged breach of the Institute of Fundraising’s Codes of Fundraising Practice and/or the Fundraising Standards Board Fundraising Promise. The FRSB will need this information if the complaint is referred to them. The outcome of the assessment will typically produce one of two options:
- The complaint is justified. We will then write to you to apologise and let you know that the complaint has been used to improve on our future fundraising activities and how this will be done. We will also instigate action to prevent any recurrence of the problem.
- The complaint is not justified. We will write to you to explain that we will not be changing our fundraising practices and give clear reason(s) for our position. We will always take complaints very seriously and assure you the investigation will be as thorough as possible. Accurate records will be kept of all the investigations which have carried out.
Extension of information gathering period
In exceptional circumstances, we may need more time than 30 days to gather all the information (for example, if a key member of staff is on annual leave or sick). If this happens, we will contact you in writing with a copy to the Fundraising Standards Board outlining the situation.
In the event that the complaint is not resolved to your satisfaction
In the event that you are not happy with our response, you should contact the Fundraising Standards Board within 2 months of receiving our response. We in turn will ensure that all correspondence is on file and that this can be made available to the Fundraising Standards Board if the complaint is pursued further.
If you are still dissatisfied, you can ask the Board of Directors of the Fundraising Standards Board to look again at your complaint. Their decision will be made within 60 days and will be final. We agree to abide by decisions made by the FRSB Board.
For issues such as dishonest handling of funds; misapplication of charitable funds; actions that contravene our trust deed or charity law, and actions that threaten to bring us into disrepute, you should contact the Charity Commission.