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    • SpaceisthePlace
    • By SpaceisthePlace 2nd Oct 17, 11:57 AM
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    SpaceisthePlace
    How to find out from charity if a freelancer got paid for 'voluntary' work I did?
    • #1
    • 2nd Oct 17, 11:57 AM
    How to find out from charity if a freelancer got paid for 'voluntary' work I did? 2nd Oct 17 at 11:57 AM
    Hello!

    I'm wondering if anyone can tell me whether organisations must disclose when asked details of invoices they've paid, specifically payments to freelancers.

    I volunteer at a local charity, and I strongly suspect another person (freelance) was paid in advance for a specific project, which was actually completed by me on a supposedly voluntary basis. I have no proof but it seems from the bits and bobs of information I've gleaned from the charity's manager that it's very likely this happened. They've been quite cagey so far.

    When I agreed to voluntary work I obviously didn't expect to be paid but then again neither did I expect another person to be paid for my work!

    Does anyone know if I can request that the charity show me the invoices for the project, and whether they have to do it or can refuse on the basis of confidentiality? I've no idea how I'd pursue this but I feel I need to know what's going on at least.

    Thanks in advance!

    SpaceisthePlace
Page 3
    • SpaceisthePlace
    • By SpaceisthePlace 2nd Oct 17, 3:35 PM
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    SpaceisthePlace
    I totally get where you're coming from.

    You donated your time in good faith, to carry out a project on behalf of a charity.

    Someone else comes along, who works on a freelance basis, and (knowingly or otherwise) invoices the charity for the work you'd done, as if he'd done it himself.

    And you're concerned because you feel the charity has been cheated out of it's hard-earned money.

    I think all you can do is raise your concerns with management. Explain that you are worried that they've paid for something to be done when it had actually been done for free. Beyond that, there's not much you can do about it.

    At the end of the day, you're just trying to help by pointing out an unnecessary spend - but they might not want to listen. If the charity wants to waste their money, that's their call - but I would be looking for another charity to support.
    Thank you for a considerate and non-rude comment!

    Just to clarify, the freelancer was paid in advance for work he was supposed to do but didn't, and which I then went on to do, while he was on holiday.

    If I'm right, and the freelancer was paid for my work, the manager involved knew about it. But I am going to meet the volunteer liaison and express my concerns. She could possibly take those concerns higher up. I am concerned for the charity but I also feel personally wronged for reasons I've given in other comments.
    Last edited by SpaceisthePlace; 02-10-2017 at 4:41 PM.
    • Comms69
    • By Comms69 2nd Oct 17, 3:36 PM
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    Comms69
    Thank you for a considerate and non-rude comment!

    If I'm right, and the freelancer was paid for my work, the manager involved knew about it. But I am going to meet the volunteer liaison and express my concerns. She could possibly take those concerns higher up. I am concerned for the charity but I also feel personally wronged for reasons I've given in other comments.
    Originally posted by SpaceisthePlace


    Then why didn't you say - yes I can do the work and this is my rate?
    • SpaceisthePlace
    • By SpaceisthePlace 2nd Oct 17, 3:38 PM
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    SpaceisthePlace
    Voice your concerns at national level if you feel either somebody has been paid for work they didn't do or that you should have been paid instead. But the charity will not disclose financial arrangements between themselves and third parties (other than donations where prior agreed)
    Thank you for your comment. This was all I needed to know, and look everyone, it's possible to say things in a polite and considerate manner.
    • SpaceisthePlace
    • By SpaceisthePlace 2nd Oct 17, 3:49 PM
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    SpaceisthePlace
    If I was the manager I would be cagey as well, especially as you seem unwilling to let this drop and would wonder what agenda you had for pursuing this matter.


    Would it be to get payment for it or would it be to highlight some financial irregularity within the branch - and I can only assume that it's the later as you've said you've willingly given your time in the past.


    So I guess the answer is no you don't but my question to you is if you'd been told he had, what would you have then done with that information ?
    I haven't been hounding the manager or not letting things drop. I've talked about this project with him once, maybe twice. His evasiveness has put me off asking further and so I wondered if I could try more official channels. Hence the original question.

    If I knew for certain the freelancer had been paid for my work I would want an explanation, an apology and to have my say about how I feel I've been treated and how this is not good for the charity. It might perhaps encourage them to be more transparent and to treat volunteers with more honesty and respect, and consider whether this particular freelancer is someone they want to do business with.

    If on top of that they were willing to pay me for this particular piece work then of course I would be very grateful for that.
    • SpaceisthePlace
    • By SpaceisthePlace 2nd Oct 17, 3:55 PM
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    SpaceisthePlace
    No, that's all wrong. They had already paid the freelancer. Then they asked the OP to do it before the freelancer had had the chance to complete it. He didn't "come along" and invoice for work he hadn't done.
    It wasn't that he hadn't had the chance to complete it. The project deadline was looming and the work hadn't been done. He went on holiday presumably knowing the deadline would pass before he came back. I did the work so the deadline wasn't missed.
    • SpaceisthePlace
    • By SpaceisthePlace 2nd Oct 17, 3:56 PM
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    SpaceisthePlace
    Listen mate I get you............

    If someone was paid for work you did voluntary. Then it sort of means you wasted your time volunteering as it cost the charity anyway. You may as well been paid.

    Ignore the rudeness just put it down to experience. You did a good thing and that's what counts. Next time you will be wiser.
    Thank you for your kind comment, I really appreciate it.
    • SpaceisthePlace
    • By SpaceisthePlace 2nd Oct 17, 4:09 PM
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    SpaceisthePlace
    Why do they owe YOU an apology? You've lost nothing. You've done work for free that you agreed to do for free.

    If they owe anyone an apology, it's the donors to the charity whose money they have wasted.
    I would like an apology mainly because I was not fully informed about the project before I agreed to undertake the work for free (along the lines of 'Hey, SpaceisthePlace, by the way Mr Freelance has already been paid to deliver this project; knowing that, are you sure you want to do it?'). Secondly because I was not fully informed after I'd done the work but left to piece things together from hints and overheard conversations. They could have been straight with me. They weren't. And maybe legally they don't have to be, but it's a sh!tty way to treat a volunteer.

    And it's not true that I've lost nothing. I spent five days in total on the project, that I could've used more productively than doing someone else's work for them.

    I agree that the donors have also been wronged.
    • SpaceisthePlace
    • By SpaceisthePlace 2nd Oct 17, 4:19 PM
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    SpaceisthePlace
    Nobody is saying this is fine. People are saying the charity could demand their money back, but only if they gave him the chance to complete the contract. If he didn't do what he was supposed to do in the time he was supposed to do it, he is in the wrong. If the charity got you to do it before he had a chance to, they have been stupid and wasteful.

    The fact remains that you, personally, have not been cheated as you seem to think you have. If you want to raise the possible wastefulness of the charity, then go ahead and do so. But you will be doing so on the part of the donors and beneficiaries of the charity, who are the only ones losing out. Paying you would only make them lose out more.
    Well then, he is in the wrong. Because there was a deadline, and he went on holiday rather than stay and meet it. When he got back the deadline had passed and I had delivered the project. As I've said in another comment.

    I disagree that I haven't been cheated. Maybe cheated isn't the word I'd use. I feel wronged for all the reasons I've stated. The charity's behaviour is unethical. There's no excuse for not being upfront and honest with volunteers about who is paid and who isn't for certain projects etc. And it's not on to get a volunteer to do something for free that you know you've already paid someone else to do - all the while not telling the volunteer.

    If they paid me and the freelancer, I agree, that would be paying twice therefore a waste of funds. If they got the payment back from the freelancer and gave it to me instead that would be for them the same financial situation as now. I know this is unlikely. The best for the charity would be to get the payment back and use it for something useful. However from what you've said this also seems unlikely.
    • scd3scd4
    • By scd3scd4 2nd Oct 17, 4:21 PM
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    scd3scd4
    When you volunteer you normally want to think you have made a difference. If someone is getting paid for work you are doing you may as well stay in bed or help another charity. What's the point.


    If I volunteered and they said.........."Listen scd3scd4 me old mate. The freelancer has not finished this job but has trotted odd to Benidorm before he finished. Any chance you can finish the job for free and we will pay him when he returns."


    I know what I would say but if it was yes, then at least I had made an informed choice with my time.
    Last edited by scd3scd4; 02-10-2017 at 4:26 PM.
    • SpaceisthePlace
    • By SpaceisthePlace 2nd Oct 17, 4:27 PM
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    SpaceisthePlace
    I just don't see why you think you having a say over the charities finances is with-in your remit
    I don't think that at all and I'm not sure where you got that from. The comment you quoted was a reply to another user who had insulted me for no reason, calling me a jealous money-grubber for admitting it would be ideal to be paid, while remaining strangely silent on the behaviour of the freelancer who got paid for doing nothing. I just pointed out the inconsistency there, nothing more.
    • SpaceisthePlace
    • By SpaceisthePlace 2nd Oct 17, 4:31 PM
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    SpaceisthePlace
    When you volunteer you normally want to think you have made a difference. If someone is getting paid for work you are doing you may as well stay in bed or help another charity. What's the point.


    If I volunteered and they said.........."Listen scd3scd4 me old mate. The freelancer has not finished this job but has trotted odd to Benidorm before he finished. Any chance you can finish the job for free and we will pay him when he returns."


    I know what I would say but if it was yes, then at least I had made an informed choice with my time.
    Exactly. And it wasn't even that he hadn't finished the job. He hadn't even started it. I did all of it.

    You're spot on, it's about transparency, being informed and treated with basic respect. I'm glad someone gets it.
    • ScorpiondeRooftrouser
    • By ScorpiondeRooftrouser 2nd Oct 17, 4:36 PM
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    ScorpiondeRooftrouser
    It wasn't that he hadn't had the chance to complete it. The project deadline was looming and the work hadn't been done. He went on holiday presumably knowing the deadline would pass before he came back. I did the work so the deadline wasn't missed.
    Originally posted by SpaceisthePlace
    How do you know he hadn't done it? Maybe he had, but just hadn't delivered it. Maybe he delivered it while he was on holiday, to the deadline, but was told they didn't need it any more. Obviously it depends what kind of work this was but this is very possible in many situations.
    • Comms69
    • By Comms69 2nd Oct 17, 4:37 PM
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    Comms69
    I think the distinction is that most posters are supplying the practical and legal aspect, whereas the OP is pursuing a more moral or ethical argument.
    • nicechap
    • By nicechap 2nd Oct 17, 4:39 PM
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    nicechap
    I would like an apology mainly because I was not fully informed about the project before I agreed to undertake the work for free (along the lines of 'Hey, SpaceisthePlace, by the way Mr Freelance has already been paid to deliver this project; knowing that, are you sure you want to do it?'). Secondly because I was not fully informed after I'd done the work but left to piece things together from hints and overheard conversations. They could have been straight with me. They weren't. And maybe legally they don't have to be, but it's a sh!tty way to treat a volunteer.

    And it's not true that I've lost nothing. I spent five days in total on the project, that I could've used more productively than doing someone else's work for them.

    I agree that the donors have also been wronged.
    Originally posted by SpaceisthePlace
    You are jumping to far too many conclusions without the facts.

    And placing far more weight on views that agree with you than those that disagree.

    At the end of the day, you completed a project the charity needed. Take comfort from that.

    If you have any actual evidence rather than suspicions you can find out the charity's trustees details from google and if you remain unhappy, raise it with the charity commission.
    Quote was right and saw into the future.
    • ScorpiondeRooftrouser
    • By ScorpiondeRooftrouser 2nd Oct 17, 4:44 PM
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    ScorpiondeRooftrouser
    I would like an apology mainly because I was not fully informed about the project before I agreed to undertake the work for free (along the lines of 'Hey, SpaceisthePlace, by the way Mr Freelance has already been paid to deliver this project; knowing that, are you sure you want to do it?'). Secondly because I was not fully informed after I'd done the work but left to piece things together from hints and overheard conversations. They could have been straight with me. They weren't. And maybe legally they don't have to be, but it's a sh!tty way to treat a volunteer.

    And it's not true that I've lost nothing. I spent five days in total on the project, that I could've used more productively than doing someone else's work for them.

    I agree that the donors have also been wronged.
    Originally posted by SpaceisthePlace


    The charity seem somewhat incompetent if your suspicions are correct, but hey, they are a charity. Most of them are incompetent. They could apologise if they wasted your time, which they have done if the freelancer had actually done it all anyway and they just panicked. But if it did need doing, and you did it, then you did what you agreed and helped them out. Their previous incompetence in paying for something and not following it up isn't really your issue.

    You need to separate the incompetent waste of money issue from the wasting your time issue. They are two different things, of which neither, either, or both may have happened.
    • Undervalued
    • By Undervalued 2nd Oct 17, 4:47 PM
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    Undervalued
    You are jumping to far too many conclusions without the facts.

    And placing far more weight on views that agree with you than those that disagree.

    At the end of the day, you completed a project the charity needed. Take comfort from that.

    If you have any actual evidence rather than suspicions you can find out the charity's trustees details from google and if you remain unhappy, raise it with the charity commission.
    Originally posted by nicechap
    Exactly so!
    • SpaceisthePlace
    • By SpaceisthePlace 2nd Oct 17, 4:48 PM
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    SpaceisthePlace
    How do you know he hadn't done it? Maybe he had, but just hadn't delivered it. Maybe he delivered it while he was on holiday, to the deadline, but was told they didn't need it any more. Obviously it depends what kind of work this was but this is very possible in many situations.
    I know for a fact that he hadn't done it beforehand. There were several team meetings with him present where the project was discussed and the fact it hadn't been done was talked about. He had plenty of chances to say 'hey I've done this already' but didn't. The nature of the work means he couldn't have done it while on holiday. I was asked to do it because it hadn't been done.
    • SpaceisthePlace
    • By SpaceisthePlace 2nd Oct 17, 4:52 PM
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    • 13 Thanks
    SpaceisthePlace
    You are jumping to far too many conclusions without the facts.

    And placing far more weight on views that agree with you than those that disagree.

    At the end of the day, you completed a project the charity needed. Take comfort from that.

    If you have any actual evidence rather than suspicions you can find out the charity's trustees details from google and if you remain unhappy, raise it with the charity commission.
    Literally the whole point of my entire OP was how do I get evidence for my suspicions. I've been completely upfront about the fact that these are just suspicions, and that I don't have proof, and that I would like to get proof.

    I've been very clear that what I want out of this situation is to know what really happened. And then IF what I think happened did happen, go from there.
    • scd3scd4
    • By scd3scd4 2nd Oct 17, 4:58 PM
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    scd3scd4
    My mum has a saying............just because she has retired does not mean her time in not valuable and she has nothing better to do than other family members chores.
    • leslieknope
    • By leslieknope 2nd Oct 17, 5:04 PM
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    leslieknope
    you're assuming they won't try to get their money back. at my workplace, we have freelancers for certain things. a lot of the time we do pay them in advance, especially if it's near the end of the budget and we have a surplus to spend. we ask them to submit their invoice early, as we would like to use that surplus, even if the work is then completed later in the year. if they don't complete that work, we would issue them with a bill for works not completed. this could well be the case. but you're only a volunteer and you do not have any right to their financials to know what is going on.
    CCCC #33: £42/£240
    DFW: £4355/£4405
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