A Keighley animal charity which only used 10p out of every £1 to fund welfare projects is being used as a national example of poor practices by a national watchdog.

Wildlife Rescue Sanctuaries, founded by Marianne Crowley, has been probed by the Charity Commission, which has just released its official Operational Compliance Report.

And Mrs Crowley has already pledged to tackle all the issues which include:

  • 90 per cent of cash raised by professional fundraisers stayed in their coffers.
  • Contracts with those companies had not been properly considered.
  • Financial records and bank accounts were not closely monitored.
  • Legal rules on trustees and management were not adhered to.

Wildlife Rescue Sanctuaries has its animal hospital at Springfield Mills, off Oakworth Road and the report sums up problems under the heading “Lessons for Other Charities”.

The report states: “This is an example where external fundraisers had greatly increased the income of the charity and the trustees had only focused on caring for more rescued animals.

“They had not given sufficient attention to the legal requirements running a charity which was involved in significant public fundraising.

“This highlights the importance for all charities to fundraise in a responsible way, being mindful of the damage to their reputation if costs are unreasonable.”

The Commission contacted Wildlife Rescue Sanctuaries following local complaints.

The report said: “The Commission received complaints that very little of the money raised by the external fundraising company went to help animals.

“We found that the system used by the external fundraising company and third party independent fundraisers, meant that the charity only received ten per cent of the funds donated by the public through these collections.

“The remaining 90 per cent went to the individual fundraisers, the fundraising company and other people involved in administering the funds.

“We are not satisfied that the trustees had properly considered the arrangements with the commercial companies before entering into fundraising agreements.”

The Charity Commission said it took action in this case, because it was concerned that such high fundraising costs would seriously damage the charity’s reputation, and even undermine public trust and confidence in giving to charities more widely.

The report notes that Wildlife Rescue Sanctuaries is addressing the concerns and ended the contract with outside fundraisers.

Marianne Crowley said she was glad of the Charity Commision’s expert help.

She said: “It’s been a learning experience and we’re grateful to them for guiding us. We’ve gone back to basics with only using volunteer fundraisers from now on. And 100 per cent of all the money raised in our shop in Shipley Market Square goes straight to helping the animals. We are now totally self-funding with a new team and taking on five new trustees.”