Being charged by charity NOT to run in VLM

Mate of mine registered to run for charidee X. Paid a hundred pounds to go into the draw to run for the charidee and has been told that he hasn't secured a place. They, of course, keep the hundred quid.

It's a well known charidee.

This sounds odd to me. Any experience on here of this please? I've not done a sponsored place before so I can't help him with any advice. Is it normal?



  • MillsyMillsy ✭✭✭
    Nice money if you can get it.

    Never heard of this being done before but I've never had anything to do with Golden Bond places before.
  • No shame in mentioning the charidee if this is what they've done ?

    Did they make this clear to him at the time?

    I've not heard of it before.
  • Maybe check the small print just to make sure your mate didn't make a donation of £100 in order to go into the draw - either way it's not good practice imho.

    I run a small Charity and we would never get a golden bond and maybe a silver one in 20 years time. Personally I'd never run VLM under a bond cos whilst I like running I'd not want to 'pay' £2,000 for the pleasure (even if it's a good cause). There are several charities that hold 100+ Golden Bonds - you do the Maths


  • It's Alzheimers. I've just looked, there is indeed a £100 registration fee & £2000 target to raise. There is nothing obvious as to what happens to your £100.00 if they decide they don't want you.

    I have only had a telephone conversation over a car phone so I might have misheard, but this "fee" seems to give weight to what I thought he said.


  • Last year I ran for a small charity Cash for Kids. They asked me to pay £100 to secure my place then raise £1500 which I did. Some charities insist on £50 payment for the place also.

    Each Charity is charged £350 plus by VLM so in order to make money they have to set a target for runners. I do agree though they should not be taking money for a 'Draw' and then saying you havent made it.

  • Unless it was absolutely explicit that he was buying a 'raffle ticket' for a place, then this seems downright immoral and I wouldn't care if it's a charity... I would be demanding my money back. It's like they're using emotional blackmail to keep his money or something.  Very poor form, all taking your word for it that he was not made aware this possibility/probability.

  • Apart from anything else, if this was a fee to enter a raffle rather than a straight donation then there might be tax liable on it.  It's certainly not eligible for gift aid, so it seems a strange way for the charity to do business.

  • i have heard of this before.its a bit like opting to donate your ballot money.....

    but i believe the charities make it clear that its a non refundable fee........if they didn't then I think he should complain.

     If they did make it clear then I don't know what the fuss is about.

  • Yes - it all depends whether he knew upfront whether the £100 was non-refundable. 

    If he didn't know I think he has every right to ask for it back.

  • can't see the details for the 2014 entry........but on the 2013 there was the £100 registration fee and then a box to tick if you wanted them to take the £100 if you were successful or not........

    so people had the option to tick into the right to donate........

    of course this might have changed again..........but i really don't think that a national charity would just take the money unless they made it clear that they would

  • mikasamikasa ✭✭✭

    Sounds like someone didn't read the small print and ticked the wrong box...

  • It would seem as though it is above board then....


    But if I were someone dealing with the big A in the family, a house move, a very uncertain job and a new baby to feed, I'd be mightily hacked off if it were me.

    One to stick in the learning bank then...


  • MillsyMillsy ✭✭✭
    I'd does sound like there may have been a tick box hidden away on the firm somewhere to opt in / out of donating / not donating.

    As you say it's probably legal but still dubious on moral grounds.

    Watchdog had a section, last night, on online ordering where people were being opted in to things they had not ordered.
  • millsy.if you look at last years there was nothing hidden .they mentioned it in the explanation and then it was an opt in box...not an opt out so not something you would have missed....

    as people apply for charity places with a charity that is close to their heart i imagine a number would want the money to go even if they were not they must have had the money spare to apply in the first place.....

    so I can't see how it could be dubious




  • How is this any different to what the London Marathon do where they ask if you want to pay up front and donate the money even if you dont get in? (albeit they tempt you with a 2nd prize draw ...... and a jacket I think)


  • it isn't different - the OP was just querying what the charity had told the applicant beforehand.



  • oh well in that case, whats the guy complaining about? Dont go ticking boxes you havent read seems to be the point to take from all of this.


  • i will say that all my evidence is about the 2013 places so they might have done it differently this year......

  • Something similar- I saw something on facebook about a club that was giving away their VMLM places through a ballot- and to enter the ballot you had to provide a copy of your rejection letter and a cheque for £50 to the club. Hadn't gone down very well. Of course I now can't remember which club it was (it flagged up on my feed as a friend had commented on it)

  • Looking at their site at the moment, they only seem to be inviting people who have a ballot place to join the team.  

    I guess they've allocated all their GB places.

  • Penguingirl - our club asks people to provide their rejection letter, but the club pays for the place for the runner!


  • Yeah that seemed to be the norm from replies others posted. Think this club must have been feeling a bit skint and thought this would be a good way to make a few hundred quid! 

  • By signing the application form your friend entered in to contract with the charity, which is why it is vital that anyone considering doing this should read every word on the paper, because once you've added your mark, you're bound by contract law.

    Immoral, yes.  Legal, yes.  Money grabbing and cold, absolutely.  Welcome to the fluffy world of charity! 

  • PhilPubPhilPub ✭✭✭

    A running club touting guaranteed entries at inflated prices?  Poor form.

  • Penguingirl - were they inviting people to join their club (with a £50 membership fee) on the grounds that club membership then entitled them to a place in the ballot for the club VLM entries?  That would be similar to many clubs I guess, albeit that's more than membership costs at many clubs.

  • Those of you who know me might know that, as I work for a magazine about the charity sector, I often defend charities to the hilt. However, it seems to me pretty outrageous that any charity would charge someone £100 just to register to run as part of their team - and then keep the money after they didn't get selected. Seems like bad practice to me.

  • At my running club, you can go into the ballot for VLM places only if you're volunteered at a couple of events in the previous year, and the club won't pay for the place. Seems fair to me.

  • At my club you go in the ballot and pay your own fee.

    My first year back into running - 3 club VLM places; 3 club entrants so I was straight in.

    2nd year 2 VLM places for 3 runners chasing

    3rd year 1 VLM place for 6 runners chasing

    The club membership has increased massively and the secretary is querying why we only had one allocation........I have a GFA place so I won't take anyone else's place.

  • Mike, he should query it, I understand that every affiliated running club gets allocated places and this increases with the number of members, 

  • Whilst legal (based on what people have said above) I also agree it's a bit immoral. Believe that all terms and conditions should be made available, in a very clear place on the sign up page, before you pay any money (you can't make everyone read them, but I do not agree with hiding them in a tucked away size 6 font hyperlink in some obscure part of the webpage).

    I also tried to look at their webpage but seems the 2014 places have already been filled - I looked for an equivalent for Berlin but had to start inputting my details to get anywhere so not sure myself what the wording was.  I think all costs, from refundable/non-refundable application fees to pledge amounts MUST be stated clearly on the same page where you hit "enter now".  Anything else is legal, but in my eyes is not moral.

    I entered for a GB place once where you had to send it a cheque with your application.  However it was not as bad as the above as if you did not get offered a place they did not cash the cheque.  If you did get a place they cashed it - even if you then turned the place down.  this was clear from the sign up and I knew that if they offered me a place I would have to pay, even if I got a ballot entry (which I did) or turned it down completely.

    I have run with the above charity before on an own-place entry for a popular half-marathon where they also offered GB places.  They were excellent apart from the rather annoying letters and emails they kept sending that always referred to having to raise £250 (the pledge for GB places) – I wouldn’t have expected own place runners to get emails with this target stated on them.

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