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British charities spend less than 50% on "good work"

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British charities spend less than 50% on "good work"

Postby Kay » Sat 12 Dec 2015 06:21 GMT

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/ ... eport.html

This doesn't surprise me at all. Having worked in the voluntary sector for several years, I can well remember the overheads and big salaries paid to some.

The UN, whilst not a charity of course, is probably the worst culprit for squandering money intended to help those in need.

It's a sobering thought for those who give to charity in the belief their money will be spent to help the needy.
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Re: British charities spend less than 50% on "good work"

Postby Dave » Sun 3 Jan 2016 09:39 GMT

Hmm. Reading down the article, I see there are plenty of people who've condemned as flawed the report that the Telegraph story's based on - including the government watchdog, the Charity Commission.

There's an interesting rebuttal on the National Council for Voluntary Organisations' website, which explains why the report's misleading. What it all boils down to is that the report only looks at total income, and doesn't regard spending on income generation as "good work" - even if the income generation adds significantly to the amount of money available for "good work".

By way of illustration:

For example, a charity may spend £30 running a charity shop. It makes £40 on the till, so therefore makes a £10 profit which goes to the end cause, along with the initial £10 donation.

In doing all this, its total income is recorded as £50 – the £10 donation, plus the £40 from trading. The £20 it has to spend on its cause is 40% of this £50.

The report, therefore makes it look like only 40% of the donation has gone to the cause, whereas the charity has in fact added to the donation with its trading.


The True and Fair Foundation, who produced the report, come in for quite a slagging-off in the comments below the NCVO rebuttal too. Of course, it's entirely possible that the people slagging off the report are doing so because of their own vested interest. And it's likewise possible that the True and Fair Foundation have some valid points.

But the report itself isn't very substantial - it's only 19 pages long, with much of the space taken up with tables, graphics or nothing at all - and not very well written, with little evidence of a systematic approach to research, but plenty of emotive words. It looks to me as if it was put together quite hurriedly. I'd be interested to see whether the TFF and Gina Miller have their own axe to grind.
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