AIMS has had a long history of upholding our independence from receiving any funding or benefit from being linked with any commercial enterprise.
The Trustees believe that it continues to be of vital importance that AIMS is, and is seen to be, wholly independent of any third parties in order to preserve our reputation for providing information impartiality. However, there are some situations in which it may be beneficial to the AIMS mission to publicise events, activities or information produced by others in a way that does not compromise our independence. This statement sets out the criteria to be used to decide whether AIMS should advertise, promote or otherwise endorse such third party activities.
As a result of several requests to promote businesses which would be making a donation to AIMS, AIMS Trustees feel it is necessary to clarify the charity’s position, so all volunteers understand what can be done and why, and so as we avoid alienating anyone who wants to support us.
The Trustees believe that for AIMS to advertise or promote a business could be seen as an endorsement of that business by AIMS. This could impact on AIMS’ perceived independence and impartiality, and/or could have a negative impact on AIMS’ reputation, and thus it is more prudent to decline any such proposals.
We may, however, share details of individuals, companies or other organisations offering services and products likely to be of interest to maternity service users and/or birth activists (e.g. on our webpages, in the AIMS Journal or in our books) but only if:
this is part of a list of similar services and products which have been reviewed and agreed to be of value
it is clearly stated that the list is provided for information, and inclusion on it does not imply approval or endorsement by AIMS
it is clearly stated that any other company or organisation offering similar services or products can ask to be included on this list
It is part of AIMS’ work to signpost readers and helpline callers to sources of information and support which may include those from other organisations. We recognise that other organisations will be better placed to provide some information and support and have different areas of expertise.
We are continually adding to our resource lists which can be found in AIMS books and on the website. The criteria for inclusion will be the same as for non-AIMS services and products.
In response to requests, we have designed an AIMS Logo which can be used by individuals and organisations who are members of AIMS.
The ‘Proud to be an AIMS Member/Volunteer’ Logo will be made available to all members/Volunteers.
AIMS website, social media posts, newsletters and mailings may be used to advertise events held by other organisations and individuals.
should be of interest to those in the birthing world
should be accessible to all with no restrictions for lay participants (this doesn’t necessarily mean free)
We will include events which are commercial or have commercial sponsors, but not when we are aware (or are made aware) of any ethical concerns e.g. companies that are non WHO compliant.
AIMS will not charge for advertising an event, but our webpage will suggest that organisers might like to make a donation.
Occasionally AIMS is asked to publicise fundraising events run by other individuals or organisations for specific reasons. This would only be done by exception, after consideration by the Trustees. The criteria will be:
Is the cause something that helps advance AIMS Mission?
Are the Trustees satisfied that this is a bona fide event and that the money raised will go to the named cause?
Are there any ethical concerns about the organiser(s) or other sponsors?
Julie is running a marathon for a breast cancer charity. AIMS would not publicise this as it is not helping towards the AIMS mission.
AIMS is always grateful to get offers from people wishing to fundraise for us. However we are not able to endorse anyone’s business or product in return for a donation, for the reasons outlined above.
When a non-AIMS event is raising funds for AIMS, we would not advertise the fact that the event is fundraising for AIMS, and would only include it as an event on our website if it fulfilled what we would normally consider the criteria for inclusion, as above.
We have decided to keep a list of companies and contacts that fundraisers can use. For example, there may be people who have offered to hold pamper parties, or an airfield where sponsored parachute jumps can be organised. The list will have a clear disclaimer explaining that we do not endorse any of the companies and that we cannot be held responsible for the recommendation.
AIMS will advertise that Hazel (private citizen) is having a sponsored cycle ride which will raise money for AIMS and here is how to sponsor her (through VirginMoneyGiving), but will not advertise the fact she is a doula with a business.
AIMS is asked by Smith and Son (a commercial organisation, such as a conference organiser) to publicise an event that will raise funds for AIMS. The decision to publicise the event would be made without considering the fact they are making a donation. If the event met the criteria for advertising the event (detailed above) it would be published without reference to the fact they are fundraising for AIMS.
If another charity, organisation or individual is running a campaign, the Campaign Steering Group will review against agreed criteria and decide whether AIMS should endorse or actively support the campaign. The criteria will be that:
the campaign addresses an issue which is relevant to AIMS mission
it is a well-designed campaign, likely to advance AIMS’ mission
there is enough information to assess the campaign
the resources are available to review the campaign and the use of those resources is justified by the potential value to the AIMS mission of us endorsing or actively supporting the campaign
there is satisfaction about the ethics of the campaign
the campaign is not associated with any business
Amita, a hypnobirthing teacher, is running a campaign on cord clamping. The campaign meets all the criteria, but AIMS would not be able to endorse or actively support that campaign if Amita linked it to her business. If she just used her name, without referring to her business, AIMS would be able to endorse and promote the campaign.
AIMS is sometimes asked to help academic researchers to recruit participants for research projects. There may also be requests for AIMS to provide more active support e.g. find volunteers to review project materials or be lay representatives overseeing the project.
It may be appropriate for AIMS to circulate such request if the research meets the following criteria:
there is enough information to assess the project
the resources are available to review it and use of those resources justify the potential value of the research
the project addresses a question which is relevant to AIMS mission
the project has ethics committee approval (or by exception if AIMS feels it is important and has reviewed and is satisfied with the ethics)
We judge it to be a well-designed project, likely to add to knowledge on this topic.
It would not be acceptable to use our members email addresses to promote research projects but project details could be publicised through AIMS social media or on the website. In theory they could also be emailed to the Mailing List.
AIMS is sometimes asked to circulate details of or links to surveys on subjects relating to the maternity services. It may be appropriate for AIMS to do this if the survey meets the following criteria:
the survey addresses a question which is relevant to AIMS’ mission
that it is likely to help to influence outcomes to the benefit of AIMS’ mission
that there is knowledge of the organisation or person who is running the survey and we are satisfied about their credentials and ability to conduct a good quality survey, in particular:
wording the survey appropriately
analysing and reporting the results reported objectively
using the results in a way that is appropriate and ethical
It would not be acceptable to use our members email addresses to promote surveys but details or links could be publicised through AIMS social media or on the website. In theory they could also be emailed to the Mailing List.
AIMS is sometimes asked to circulate details of or links to petitions on subjects relating to the maternity services. It may be appropriate for AIMS to do this if the petition meets the following criteria:
the petition addresses a question which is relevant to AIMS’ mission
it is likely to help to influence outcomes to the benefit of AIMS’ mission
that there is knowledge of the organisation or person who is organising the petition and we are satisfied about their credentials
the petition will be used in a way that is appropriate and ethical
It would not be acceptable to use our members email addresses to promote petitions but details or links could be publicised through AIMS social media or on the website. In theory they could also be emailed to the Mailing List.
We have published AIMS books for many years. We also sell books by other authors when AIMS does not currently have a book on that topic, when we feel that it would be helpful to make one available.
Other book titles are mentioned within the Resources pages of our books, in the Journal and Birth Information pages.
Decisions will be made on the basis of whether the books will be a good source of information, well written and referenced for all our readers.
We hope this covers the wide range of situations where AIMS is asked to endorse a product, service or other activity. The Trustees are willing to receive requests which fall outside all the criteria stated as there is always a situation that hasn’t been anticipated, however the main ethos will be upheld.
Appendix: Permitted use of Personal information which AIMS holds
We record and keep members’ contact details so that we can manage their membership and provide them with information about what we are doing as a charity as well as newsletters, notification of meetings, invitations to special events, etc.. This information is kept as a ‘Legitimate Interest’ under the terms of the GDPR legislation because:
We need to be able to contact members about matters concerning their membership, such as renewals
Without members’ contact details we cannot keep the members informed of what the charity is doing, including events, campaigns, local activities etc.
Under these rules it is not possible to email our members about anything which is not an AIMS activity. This would include informing them of third party activities, events or offers where AIMS is not involved.
There is no restriction on what we can communicate through channels which do not use members’ personal information, such as social media posts, the AIMS website or AIMS Journal, which people are choosing to read.
This is a list of people who are subscribers to an AIMS mailing list and have requested to receive emails from time to time tor, keep them up-to-date with “AIMS and other events that may be of interest, as well as information about AIMS Journals, books and website content. We may also include information about maternity issue and campaigns that may be of interest”
As they have given consent to receiving these emails by opting in to the mailing list it is permissible for AIMS to email them about third party activities,events or offers if these are clearly of interest to birth activists. However, it would not be permissible to send them business advertising or promotion. We also need to be mindful about not overloading subscribers with unwanted emails, or drowning out AIMS communications.
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