My old pal Joe Waters at the Boston Medical Center and his many commenters have stated very well the ethical dilemma that charities can face in forging cause marketing relationships.
But, of course, the charititable fundraising business as a whole is fraught with ethical challenges.
Here’s a particularly challenging and recent one from the UK that has come to my attention.
Reginald Forester-Smith was a ‘photographer to the stars’ and royalty in the United Kingdom the 1970s.
In 1999 he was tried, convicted and jailed for repeatedly raping his young daughter over an 18-year-period. He spent eight years in prison. At least two other girls came forward to say that Forester-Smith had sexually abused them as well. His daughter, now aged 42, published a book about her experience in 2002.
Forester-Smith served his time and died last July at the age of 77. His wife, Sheena, died in 2001. Forester-Smith’s estate bequeathed more than £1m to three charities, including £312,291 each to the Macmillan Nurses Cancer Association and Cancer Research UK.
Now news has come out that Forester-Smith had also bequeathed £400,000 to Girlguiding Scotland, an analogue in the United States to the Girls Scouts.
So if you’re Girlguiding Scotland, do you take the money?
Here’s a few things to keep in mind.
- Forester-Smith served his time.
- Forester-Smith is dead.
- Forester-Smith left nothing for his daughter.
- Neither the Macmillan Nurses Cancer Association and Cancer Research UK have announced yet whether they will accept the gift, so Girlguiding doesn’t have any cover from them.
- The estate made the gift to the Girlguiding Scotland in memory of his wife, who was an active supporter of the Girl Guides and Brownies.
- Girlguiding Scotland is particularly well-placed to use the money to fight child abuse in all its odious forms.
- Isn't accepting it tantamount to a whitewash of Forester-Smith's horrible crimes?
- Forester-Smith's money is all but blood money.
- His daughter has so far remained silent, but a family friend has said that it would be reprehensible for Girlguides to accept it.