Charities – pouring good money after bad

One of the benefits of Governments and Councils no longer subsidising charities, is that good money may cease to follow bad management.

Like most people, I give to charity. But I have always refrained from giving money to charities that look like big business, have a poor management record, or are over secretive about their work.

I know that, nowadays, we are bombarded by requests for our money but the following should be born in mind.

  • Unless you starve charities who pay large salaries and start supporting smaller charities in the same field, large salaries will continue to be paid. One of my charities helps black aids sufferers and other poor blacks in Johannesburg – and the charity is run by twenty well off middle class white women who all work for no salary and pay their own expenses. They do a lot of good work.
  • Unless you examine how well the charity management is performing, and refuse them money until they improve, they will never improve. The trouble is, once the rot of bad management has set in it is almost impossible for that charity to be turned around and it is doomed to failure.
  • Unless a charity is open to the public on issues of whether it is political, whether it pays large salaries, or doesn’t involve their contributors in any way, you will never know how efficient they are, whether they are doing a good job, or whether they are secretly political – to your opposition party!

Charities have either become “big business” with corporate mentalities, or they are full of people supporting their king-size egos.

If you start being a little picky about who you support you will improve this trend.

A quick email stating you are a potential doner but you would like the following questions answered.

  1. What is the total salary bill of all the directors?
  2. Are your charity meeting minutes published?
  3. Do you support, or are you supported by, any political party.

might help you decide whether that charity is worth supporting. It doesn’t matter how much you might support the charities aims, unless you get them onto the straight and narrow, your hard earned money will continue to be wasted.

And, you need further information than just the salary. For example from Oxfam’s online report we learn their CEO gets £90,000+, at first glance this seems high but you have to take into consideration that Oxfam is a £300M company running in 80 countries. To me that seems fair, but I don’t support them for other reasons which I won’t go into here.

It’s a bit like politics really. If you don’t take an interest you get the sort of government that comes from a lack of interest. With charities, if you don’t take an interest, you can’t complain if you get a badly managed charity and your money disappears in an ever-increasing bucket.

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