'Disgusting Activity': Why Charities Need to Vet Fundraisers, Protect Trademarks
Dennis Daugherty wanted to give back, so he decided to host a charity golf tournament for Make-A-Wish Foundation. It would be perfect. Picturesque greens, the whoosh of swinging drivers cutting through the fall breeze, golfers raising money for a great cause—you can't beat that.
But there were two minor problems.
For one, Make-A-Wish Foundation hadn't sanctioned Daugherty's fundraiser. And, for another, well, let's let KMOV News 4 handle this one:
The tournament took place at a golf course in Columbia, Illinois, in late September. A News 4 photographer shot video of young women flashing their breasts and cavorting with golfers. News 4 also obtained graphic cellphone photos from the tournament showing women taking part in live sex acts on the course and, in some cases, men participating.
One golfer who was at the tournament said more than a dozen women were at the tournament, with some performing sex acts for cash. ...
News 4 reporter Chris Nagus spoke with a woman who had been asked by Daugherty to take part in the tournament and to find "rich, horny men" who would be willing to take part. She declined, and then told other women she knew who had been invited to turn it down, warning them there would be what she called "disgusting activity" during the tournament.
Oh. Oh, wow.
Make-A-Wish Foundation told News 4 it never licensed its name for use in the fundraiser. Daugherty probably never asked—but he still had the charity's name on promotional materials. Make-A-Wish Foundation found out at the last minute, telling Daugherty the day before the event to remove its name and logo. Daugherty complied.
The event went on as scheduled, without Make-A-Wish affiliation, failing to raise any money. And the rest is NC-17 history.
The charity issued a statement, via News 4, that read in part:
We appreciate individuals and companies fundraising on our behalf. In fact, we rely on local funding to grant the wishes of local kids battling life-threatening medical conditions. Make-A-Wish has procedures in place to review and approve potential fundraisers. Unfortunately, Mr. Daugherty did not go through this process and the event is not, and never has been, a sanctioned Make-A-Wish fundraiser. While we do not have first-hand knowledge of the fundraiser, the event as described certainly does not fall in line with our values as an organization.
For additional background, per our policy and procedures, individuals and companies who wish to fundraise on our behalf must hold a signed, license agreement. Mr. Daugherty does not hold a required license agreement with our foundation.
This is a prime example of how quickly and easily a third-party event can go off the rails. And it's a lesson for charities that vetting fundraisers and protecting trademarks is absolutely critical.
Make-A-Wish narrowly avoided a potential disaster by having strong policies in place and enforcing them vigilantly. Caligula's golf tournament, up there, is a reminder that you should do the same.