Fundraising firm GoGen ceases trading following damaging media investigation

GoGen, a fundraising company at the centre of a newspaper investigation into charity cold-calling, has ceased trading with the loss of nearly 500 jobs.

GoGen: the firm's director says it has been impossible to deal with loss of business following 'misleading media coverage'
GoGen: the firm's director says it has been impossible to deal with loss of business following 'misleading media coverage'
The firm suffered a major dent to its reputation earlier this month after the Daily Mail claimed it was exploiting loopholes in the Telephone Preference Service to "hound" vulnerable people into making donations to major charities.

The investigation came in the wake of the death of 92-year-old poppy-seller Olive Cooke, who died after jumping from Clifton Suspension Bridge in May.

It was later claimed that the pensioner received more than 250 charity letters every month and that this had been a factor in her death. A coroner found that she had suffered from depression and recorded a verdict of suicide last week. 

Following the Mail investigation, major charities such as Oxfam, the British Red Cross, Cancer Research UK and the NSPCC suspended their involvement with GoGen and distanced themselves from its practices.

It also prompted a second investigation by the Information Commissioner’s Office into potential breaches of data protection laws by the company and a public statement by Rob Wilson, the minister for civil society, calling for regulators to stamp out "immoral practices" at fundraising firms.

GoGen confirmed to PRWeek that it had ceased trading and made 485 people across four regional offices redundant.

Giuseppe Iantosca, director of GoGen, said: "It is with great sadness that I can confirm that GoGen has ceased to trade. We are urgently reviewing the options for the future of our business with financial advisors BDO, but it is likely that GoGen will enter a formal insolvency process early next week. It has been impossible for GoGen to cope with the reduction in business resulting from recent misleading media coverage. Allegations of widespread abuses of fundraising guidelines and data protection rules are simply not true."

Iantosca added that the Information Commissioner’s Office had dropped its investigation into GoGen yesterday and he took aim at the charities and regulators that distanced themselves from the company following the negative media coverage.

He said: "It is right that charity fundraising practices are reviewed, but it is vital that charities and industry bodies themselves take more responsibility for the activities and practices they have approved, or at least condoned."

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