Sometimes when you attach a famous name to a charity organization, it can blow up in your face. Just ask the guys from One Direction. The world-famous boy band is seeing their brand dragged through the mud in headlines after a charity they publicly support has seen it accounts frozen. The reason for the financial freeze: an investigation into “allegations of misconduct.”
That’s an ominous phrase because it could end up meaning anything. Could be that some disgruntled person made some allegations that have to be investigated but will turn out to be false. It could also be that the investigation turns up even worse issues than have been reported. Most likely, it will be something in between … but, until the investigation is concluded and the findings are reported, One Direction is going to have to deal with seeing their name tied to an “investigation.”
According to reports in The Guardian, Believe in Magic, a family-orchestrated charity founded by a mother-daughter team, is being investigated for “multiple complaints” about “misconduct and mismanagement.”
Members of One Direction have been actively promoting the charity, with Louis Tomlinson and Liam Payne even going to a major fundraiser in 2015.
Believe in Magic has never had an issue getting big name attention. They hosted a party with British Prime Minister David Cameron at his official residence, 10 Downing Street, and they have attracted the attention of several other celebrities, including Michael Buble’ and, as mentioned, One Direction.
But the charity hasn’t been as good with the books as it has been with getting headlines and attention. After receiving tens of thousands of dollars in donations, the charity failed to file annual account reports.
Tomlinson, though, donated more than $2 million, in addition to support from other bandmates … and no account reports were filed that year either.
When a charity getting that much of a high profile refuses to file their reports that automatically sends up red flags. And now those red flags have gained the attention of financial regulators, who are looking closely at the books to see why reports were not filed and what the charity may be hiding … if anything.
It’s that question that could be the most problematic from a PR perspective. When someone wonders “what you might be hiding” they are much less likely to give. So, if they have nothing to hide, it’s definitely in the best interest of Believe in Magic to be as forthcoming as possible.