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DFN Project SEARCH Fundraising Complaints Procedure

1. Purpose
This procedure provides instructions for staff and volunteers on how to address and resolve fundraising complaints in a timely, courteous and effective manner, ensuring the appropriate level of professionalism and compliance with data protection legislation.

The procedure also enables us to comply with the requirements of the Fundraising Regulator (with whom we are registered), including:

  • Stating in our Annual Report and Accounts how many complaints we have received in relation to fundraising
  • Safeguard complainants’ personal data
  • Ensure any learnings from complaints are acted on

2. Procedure Details

Our approach
When dealing with complaints we aim to:

  • Be open and transparent
  • Evidence based
  • Logical and rational
  • Respond in appropriate time frames
  • Use lessons learnt to improve practices

Registering fundraising complaints can be done in a number of ways:
Email: info@dfnprojectsearch.org
Telephone: 020 34323402
Write to us at: 10 Norwich Street, London, EC4A 1BD

Fundraising complaints may reflect concerns, including, but not limited to:

  • Misleading or excessive requests for support, particularly to adults at risk of harm;
  • Disrespectful, misleading or otherwise unreasonable engagement with donors once support has been given;
  • Management of contact preferences;
  • Management of data stored about an individual e.g. sensitive information.

Protecting complainants:
The procedure, as set out below, must be made publicly available, for example on our website, and applies to any third-party fundraisers.

This procedure is in accordance with the DFN Project SEARCH’s Whistleblowing Policy, which outlines how members of staff will be protected from victimisation and harassment, should they lodge a complaint.

For external complainants, information is retained under DFN Project SEARCH’s Privacy Notice and in line with data protection legislation.

Organisational learning:
We will maintain records of all complaints and review the number and nature of these complaints on an annual basis to ensure that any lessons that can be learnt are implemented.

3. Procedure Scope

This procedure applies to all fundraising complaints received by DFN Project SEARCH. Fundraising complaints may be made by anyone but will generally fall into one of the following categories: members of the public, supporters, other external stakeholders, as well as members of DFN Project SEARCH staff.

A complaint is where either and individual or organisation, considers that DFN Project SEARCH has fallen short of their reasonable expectations and communicates their dissatisfaction by telephone, mail, email, or in person.

4. Related Policies/ Procedures

  • Whistle Blowing Policy
  • Safeguarding Policy
  • Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Guidance
  • Anti-Harassment and Bullying Guidance

5. Procedure Author

Sarah MacQuillin, Director of Development

6. Procedure and Guidance Notes

Complaints handling procedure

When a complaint is received it will be logged and investigated using the following process:

Stage one
If a complaint is made by telephone we will attempt to resolve it during the call. If that is not possible, we will let the caller know how long, based on the nature of the complaint, it is likely to take us to resolve it. Ideally this should be within 5 working days.

If the complaint is made by email or post, it will be forwarded to the Development team who will acknowledge receipt and aim to resolve it within 5 working days. If the complaint is more complex, we will contact the complainant again and aim to resolve it within 20 working days of receipt.

Stage two
If the above actions do not lead to a resolution of the complaint, we will escalate it to our CEO. They will investigate further and contact the complainant with a resolution within a further 20 working days.

Stage three
If the complainant is still unhappy, they will be advised to contact the Fundraising Regulator who can independently investigate the complaint. They can be contacted using the link here.

7. Consultation
In preparing this procedure the following guidance and regulation has been consulted:
Fundraising Regulator’s Code of Fundraising Practice – section 2.4 Complaints and concerns about fundraising

8. Mandatory Training Requirements and Review Dates

This procedure should form part of induction training
The procedure should be reviewed every two years

9. Impact on Equality and Diversity
During the development of this procedure, we have considered the needs of protected characteristics as outlined in the Equality Act (2010) with the aim of minimising and if possible, removing any disproportionate impact on staff or volunteers for each of the protected characteristics, age, disability, gender, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation. No detriment was identified.

Information Governance Implications

The Risk Register seeks to identify and mitigate risks related to this procedure. This is reviewed on a quarterly basis.


The fundraising complaints procedure as detailed under section 6.00 above should be made available on the DFN Project SEARCH website