The UK's leading meningitis charity has warned unwitting donors against charity bag fraud after discovering that their logo is being used without authorisation on clothes recycling bags.
Meningitis Now, the only charity dedicated to fighting meningitis in the UK, recently learned that their branding had been co-opted without the charity's go-ahead, leading to the exploitation of generous people who have donated clothes, shoes, and other items.
While charity bags are a commonplace fundraising method in which people leave bags of their donations at the roadside for collection by a company working with the relevant charity, Meningitis Now have reiterated that the charity does not raise funds through such schemes and have no agreement with any company to collect unwanted goods on their behalf.
“While many clothing collections are legitimate, charity bag fraud is an increasingly common problem which makes victims of donors and charities alike," said Stephen Service, Policy Manager at the Fundraising Regulator. "If in doubt, check with your local council directly before you give to ensure the collection is licensed.”
Meningitis Now, which runs numerous events to raise the the £4m they require to offer support to people facing the disease every year, said that unfortunately they are not the only charity to have had their logo re-appropriated with bibic, which supports children and young people with disabilities and learning difficulties, also affected.
Dr Tom Nutt, CEO at Meningitis Now, said: “Sadly, this is an issue that affects the wider charity sector. I would like to make it clear that these bags are fraudulent and nothing to do with Meningitis Now – please do not make any donations in this way."
Lynda Williams, CEO at bibic, added: “We are extremely disappointed to learn of the continued fraudulent use of the bibic brand. To falsely claim to be changing the lives of children with disabilities and learning difficulties is disgraceful, and I urge anyone that receives a bag purporting to support bibic and Meningitis Now to follow the advice from the fundraising regulator.”
The charity donation bags are usually hand-delivered and collected by vans, with Meningitis Now making it clear that while the public should avoid challenging anyone seen delivering or collecting these bags, they can get in touch with the charity on 01453 768 000 if they have any doubts about fundraising legitimacy.
"We hope and believe that this kind of fraud is rare, but would like to take this opportunity to remind our generous supporters that there are other, safer ways to make donations to our charity, in particular via our website www.meningitisnow.org," read a statement from the charity.