Charity grumbles…..


Following the recent bush fires the Australian Red Cross have been accused of hanging on to publicly donated money of almost 115 million Australian dollars, that`s about 59 million British pounds. They have refuted this and say that there will be staged phases when money is needed as the people rebuild their lost communities, so they are helping in a planned and proper way.

Years ago, a high-profile charity I worked for, which was a drop in facility for people with HIV and AIDS, experienced what the Health and Local Authorities referred to as “a crisis in management”. Funding was withdrawn from all the charities in Birmingham supporting HIV positive clients. We were ordered to immediately shut up shop and go home. A large grant of £85,000 which I had obtained from the National Lottery, was rescinded and it was chaos for a time.

This morning I read that a charity I was also employed by is now under fire with accusations of inhouse bullying. Naturally their PR people state that the charity has a rigorous anti-bullying policy.  I did not witness bullying myself however there were whispered conversations regarding senior managers. Gossip was not encouraged but people will gossip! My main beef with the charity was that the most senior managers were being paid high levels of salary compared to those at the coal face, the correlation I suppose would be nurses` pay as opposed to hospital managers` pay.

Charities need to be very careful with how they spend donated public money. As they become larger and corporate, then it must be made transparent to the public, just where their donations are going.

An article published in The Sun in 2015 stated the (then) Cancer Research chief executive was receiving a salary of £240,000 a year. That year the CEO at the NSPCC earned £162,000. Amnesty International`s Secretary General received £200,000 and Marie Curie Cancer Care’s top earner received £170,000. In the same article it was alleged that the charity I worked for was paying 50p in every £1 donated, to staff salaries. If it`s true then that`s an awful lot of money.

Charities carry out some sterling work and feedback from the public is generally positive so I know they are doing a grand job but in order for charities to survive in this increasingly competitive and austere world, it is essential they maintain and keep the goodwill and trust of the public or they will go under. Remember Kid`s Company?  The public will stop donating and actually, the numbers of people making charitable donations is falling in the UK but fewer people are giving more, so we still manage to raise around ten billion pounds a year in donations.


Let`s just be clear about where that money is being spent.


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