Charity Excellence - Ethics and Complaints Policy

This policy outlines the Charity Excellence approach to ethics and explains why and how we do what we do, including how to submit a complaint.

Charity Excellence - Ethics and Complaints Policy

We are a very small almost entirely volunteer run charity.  This Ethics and Complaints Policy policy outlines our approach and explains why and how we do what we do.

We are community led and welcome feedback or suggestions from anyone on our approach to ethics, or anything else we do.  Contact us at

Ethics Policy

Our Approach

Many in the sector hold strong views on a wide range of subjects, some of which may be at odds with each other.  We think diversity of opinion (managed well) is helpful in creating useful debate and recognise their right to do so but our work is in support the whole non profit community and it's simply not possible to reflect the wishes of every individual, or every individual group.

Small Charities and Marginalised Groups

We believe that non profits are a force for good and that one of the sector's strengths is that we also care for the people and things that others don't.  We support all non profits but primarily focus on small charities and marginalised groups.  We define marginalised groups as the often very small community groups that often support the most vulnerable but who, too often, are shoved to the back of the funding queue.  Specifically, the disability, BAME, LGBTQI+ communities, food banks and homelessness and women's groups.

How We Define Something to be Offensive

We understand that different groups may have different views, and sometimes these views can be completely opposite. We respect the right of these groups to hold their own beliefs, subject to these not breaking UK Law.  However, when it comes to deciding if something is offensive, we can't just consider one group’s viewpoint, because that might result in us appearing to take sides, when our aim is to positively represent the whole community.

In practice, we look at the wider community.  The fact that one group finds something offensive, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s offensive to everyone. To decide if something is truly offensive, we look for a negative effect or the potential to cause harm, and a significant number of people in our community should find it offensive.

We won’t knowingly share anything that might break the law or isn’t true.  We are willing to talk about potentially contentious issues, where we think this is important and doing so will cause more good than harm.  To make this more likely, we do our best to focus on the problem rather than an individual or group and, whilst we believe accountability is important, we try to focus on solutions, not blame.  When deciding whether to publish something, we think about the potential harm, how many people might be offended, how likely they are to be offended, and how upset they might be. We do this to try and make sure we’re being fair and respectful to everyone in our community, even when some hold views that are mutually exclusive.

Our Use of Terminology 

We believe that everyone should be called whatever they wish to be.  However, where we collect or display data for our community, we.

  • Use terminology we think most would recognise but accept not all may agree with.  For example, we know that not everyone agrees with the term BAME, so we changed it to be more inclusive.  However, the result was a flood of e mails asking where the BAME funding had gone, so we changed it back.
  • For individual grants, we normally use the terminology used by the grant maker, as this often reflects their approach or attitude, and leave it to you to decide if you wish to consider them.
    • Very occasionally, will change that, or very, very occasionally not include a grant maker, if we think it would reasonably be considered offensive by the majority of our community.

Ethics Notes

We make too many mistakes of our own to feel able to judge others but we also include ethics notes, where we think a reasonable number of our community may wish to be aware of something.  Specifically, where funding is from a company which primarily provides goods or services, such as alcohol, tobacco, gambling, fossil fuels or military equipment.  We do not make any ethical judgement of.

  • The behaviour of companies because we do not have the capacity and what one group considers unethical another may not or.
  • Include ethics notes where a product or service is not a company's primary product.  This is because we do not have the capacity and this would require large numbers of longer ethics notes and, in doing so, potentially make our work less valuable to the majority and what matters most to our community potentially less visible. For example, almost all supermarkets sell alcohol, tobacco and lottery tickets.

We are not an ethics charity - we are a charity that does its best to be ethical.


Our AI guidance is essentially that we used in building our own AI services and we continue to follow it.  In particular, where we use AI to create imagery or text, either in part of wholly, we disclose this.   The exception is imagery where it is self evident that it is not genuine.   For example, our AI bunnies wearing sunglasses whilst engaged in a range of activities, such as predicting the future.  Where we use AI in creating text content, we always disclose this.

Collaboration and Promotion

We believe that sector collaboration is a huge missed opportunity and one of our real strengths is the fact that our systems tap into and promote the work and services of 1000s of organisations that support the sector.  We do not have the capacity to carry out full due diligence on each but we will not promote organisations where, in our view, there are reasonable grounds to believe that they have.

  • Abuse. Behaved in a way that betrays the values we think the sector should hold.
    • We have zero tolerance of any kind of abuse, including bullying and harassment and the 8 protected characteristics in the Equalities act.
  • Professionalism. Provided services/goods that fall materially short of the professional standards that we think should reasonably be expected.
    • We all make mistakes but we expect any organisation we promote to do its best to obey the law and any relevant charity regulations, its promotion to be open and transparent, and for products/services to be of benefit to others, good quality, free or at least affordable and safe.
  • Exclusion.  Sought to exclude us from activities or promotion we might reasonably have expected to have been included in or invited to participate in and where doing so may or may have been to the detriment of the wider community.
    • We do not routinely require others to promote us in return and we are happy for organisations to define the basis on which they interact with us but that is a 2-way street.
    • Where we think we have been excluded because we may be seen as a competitor, or simply because we're not liked, we will cease promoting an organisation.
    • We will always remain open to beginning to promote a organisation again but only where there is demonstrable genuine willingness to collaborate on their part.
  • Trolling.  Engaged in trolling us.  We are always open to suggestions on how we might do better and also welcome constructive criticism and complaints as opportunities for us to reflect on our work and, potentially, do so.  However, where we are trolled online or similar, we will cease any promotion on the basis we do not tolerate abuse, including of our ourselves.

We do not make details public of organisations we no longer promote.  Currently, there are less than 12, most of whom are aware that we no longer do so.  If any organisation thinks they may have been, we would disclose this to them on request and always remain willing to reconsider our position.

Commercial Companies.  We promote companies that, in our view, offer special opportunities to non profits that we think they may wish to be aware of.  We also promote our paid advertisers whose funding enables us to continue supporting you.  We do not promote 'free, not free' offers, charity discounts that are not substantive and specific, or activities of limited genuine value to non profits.

Statements of Intent and Commitments

We may occasionally support a particular movement or initiative but we do not generally publish special statements or commitments to diversity, climate change or other issues, because we think commitment is best demonstrated by behaviours and action.

Complaints Policy

How to Make a Complaint

Whilst we make every effort to meet peoples’ expectations, circumstances may arise where an individual has a concern and wishes to bring this to our attention.  We will take all reasonable steps to resolve the situation, in everyone’s best interests.

If you wish to bring a matter to our attention, contact us at  We always prefer to resolve any concern informally but also have a formal complaints process, including a right of appeal.

Whilst we would ask that you first give us the opportunity to address your concerns, submitting a complaint to us does not preclude you also complaining to a regulator or other relevant authority, such as the Charity Commission, OSCR or CCNI.

Submitting a Complaint. To help resolve the complaint as quickly and effectively as possible, you should do so as soon as possible and include in your complaint:

  • Your name, organisation (if relevant), address, telephone number and e mail.
    • If you do not wish to be contacted in a particular way, please let us know and we will of course respect this.
  • As much information as possible, such as what happened, where, when (date/time), who was present and any action taken, and by whom.
  • What it is you felt to be unsatisfactory.
  • What you believe should be done to address your concern.

Managing Your Complaint.  Receipt will be acknowledged, if possible, within 7 working days.  The complaint will then be investigated.  If necessary, specialist advice will be sought.  Where clarification or further information is felt to be necessary, we will contact you to request this.

A response will be sent within 14 working days.  If this is not possible, a holding reply will be sent after 14 days advising when we estimate the investigation will be completed.  The complaint response will  explain our findings and what action we will be taking/have taken, subject to the constraints of the Data Protection Act, which will almost certainly not allow us to disclose sensitive personal information.

Appeal Process. If you are not satisfied with the response, you may appeal the decision, by writing to the Chair, the contact details of whom will included in our response.  Appeals must be submitted within 28 days of our response to the complaint.  Your appeal should be specific about why you feel the decision made was wrong and provide the facts and information necessary to demonstrate this.

A decision will be notified within 28 days and will be final.

Wider Action.  Irrespective of the outcome of any complaint, we will consider if there is any requirement in respect of wider action and/or statutory reporting to the Charity Commission, H&SW Executive, other regulator, or the Police.

Consideration will also to be given to whether any changes should be made to policies, procedures, training etc to see if anything might reasonably be done to prevent a similar issue arising in future.

Anonymous Complaints.  Anonymous complaints will be recorded and any facts available looked in to.  However, in doing so we will be mindful that anonymous complaints can sometimes be malicious.  Everyone involved in our work, even incidentally, has a right to complain and we will hold anyone accountable but, equally, individuals have a right to be protected from unsubstantiated and, potentially, malicious allegations.

Consequently, anyone wishing to complain is strongly encouraged to provide the information requested above and his or her contact details.  This will also allow us to advise him or her of the outcome.

Confidentiality.  The complaint will be treated as confidential and any communication on this issue, including responding to the complainant, will be subject to compliance with the Data Protection Act.

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