The Royal British Legion: “To our knowledge we have not been offered or taken receipt of any funds from either Dove or Open Doors”

  1. Professional fundraiser Dove Promotions and linked charity Open Doors have been using without permission the names of three high-profile military charities to lend credibility to themselves and their fundraising activities. The three are: The Royal British Legion; ABF The Soldiers’ Charity; and SSAFA. Open Doors in its fundraising and website misleadingly creates the impression that it’s a military charity, when it isn’t one. Dove Promotions raises funds for the charity, claiming that Open Doors “in turn” supports the three high-profile military charities, along with two others. All three have now independently told Dove Promotions to remove their names from the company’s homepage, after I brought my findings to the attention of each. Two of them, ABF The Soldiers’ Charity and SSAFA, confirmed that they’ve accepted small donations from Open Doors. But The Royal British Legion has not: “To our knowledge we have not been offered or taken receipt of any funds from either Dove or Open Doors”, it said.
  2. Dove Promotions is the official professional fundraiser for charity Open Doors (registered charity number: 1006623) and its “Supporting our Heroes” campaign. For the background on Open Doors, see https://dralexmay.wordpress.com/2015/07/07/why-is-the-army-endorsing-the-unnecessary-non-transparent-and-unaccountable-charity-open-doors/. And the next post, https://dralexmay.wordpress.com/2015/07/20/professional-fundraiser-misrepresents-open-doors-as-a-military-charity-more-evidence/. Neither charity nor professional fundraiser is open or transparent about fundraising costs. The costs are hidden, inviting suspicion – and potential abuse. Rip-off fundraising costs are particularly common for dubious military charities, as this blog has exclusively revealed.
  3. The published business model (money flows) for Open Doors and its “Supporting our Heroes” campaign is: public -> Dove Promotions -> Open Doors -> The Royal British Legion and others. So this is the Dove Promotions homepage at 20 July 2015: http://web.archive.org/web/20150720102035/http://www.dovepromotionsltd.co.uk/. Here Dove Promotions claims that Open Doors “in turn” supports five military charities, including three high-profile ones: The Royal British Legion (registered charity number: 219279); ABF The Soldiers’ Charity (1146420); and SSAFA (210760). These three are members of Cobseo, the Confederation of Service Charities (https://www.cobseo.org.uk); the other two are not. Unsurprisingly, Open Doors isn’t a member of Cobseo either.
  4. The three Cobseo members have now independently told Dove Promotions to remove their names from the company’s homepage, after I brought my findings to the attention of each. Two of them, ABF The Soldiers’ Charity and SSAFA, confirmed that they’ve accepted small donations from Open Doors. But The Royal British Legion has not: “To our knowledge we have not been offered or taken receipt of any funds from either Dove or Open Doors”, said the Legion’s Guy Upward, Assistant Director of Fundraising: Individual Giving.
  5. Now the bad news. Named serving soldiers from the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment are still endorsing this opaque and unaccountable set-up. Unbelievably. One such is quoted in the announcement of the 17 August 2015 prize draw results on the Dove Promotions website. This after I’d written to the regimental secretary three times on this matter. (https://dralexmay.wordpress.com/2015/07/07/why-is-the-army-endorsing-the-unnecessary-non-transparent-and-unaccountable-charity-open-doors/)
  6. Well done to the three Cobseo members for independently acting to protect their reputations; and for being accountable to the public. Each has also acted in the public interest by taking public protection seriously. It isn’t only about their organisation and name. What a shame that the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment doesn’t seem to care.
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