The REAL Charities are the Ones worth supporting

Depression has yet another hidden side, it stops me writing, hence the shortage of recent posts; however a headline in today’s Mirror that infuriated me so much it broke the barrier – “Top charities spend 60% of cash raised on private firm which hounds people to donate”.

I’ve argued for many years that far too much money given to these agencies, fails to reach the people the organisations purport to aid; I’ve even disappointed my 84 year old mum, who readers know I adore,  when I refuse to buy the raffle tickets she receives twice a year, regular as clockwork, from several of these orgs. For me the Top ‘Charities’ no longer qualify as such, and it’s time for the Charities Commission to do its job and remove this status, lets call them what they are Big Businesses.

I worked in the voluntary sector for many years, providing a real service to local people. Such projects are ran by regular people, who find themselves  forced to battle with these multi-million pound companies, in their efforts to raise less money than Stroke pay for fund-raising to keep their service going.  I do not believe this is Right and I’m not convinced people who donate hard earned money, expect it to go to the same company who then hassle them by calling them at home with a Hard Sell?

I understand and share the belief in philanthropy, but I want to know my money is going to help the people in need. I would suggest if everyone donated to local projects, the ones that work at grass root level with the most vulnerable; they’d not only continue to benefit from the good feeling such giving gives, but would also witness a real positive difference in their communities.  It could mean the local foodbank feeding a hungry child, the nearby hospice helping another person dying of cancer, or the neighbourhood youth project supporting a young woman at risk of abuse. The real voluntary sector, the projects close to home, operate on a fraction of the money the ‘Top Charities; spend on self promotion.

Next time you decide to give the spare change in your pocket to a ‘chugger’, buy a raffle ticket, or make a tax deductible donation to charity, check out your local projects, I expect theres one that fits your personal ideology;  but the difference your money will make is monumental.

 

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30 thoughts on “The REAL Charities are the Ones worth supporting

  1. Pingback: The REAL Charities are the Ones worth supporting | John D Turner

  2. Pingback: The REAL Charities are the Ones worth supporting – Jayne Linney | Vox Political

  3. I totally agree with you Jayne. I used to support two very well known charities. I donated by direct debit every month until my hubby was made redundant, so we had to make cutbacks & I cancelled the DD’s, then the phones calls started at least two a week , I explained our financial situation on every occasion which started to annoy me a little but I gave them the benefit of the doubt intending to restart the DD’s once finances (hubby found a job) improved. Alas 12 months later hubby still hadn’t manage to find a job, One day I had a hospital appointment & we were just about to leave and the phone rang & I made the mistake of answering, it was one of the charities, so I told her I was just about to leave & also explained our financial situation yet again to her. Half an hour later the donation request had gone from £20 pm to £3 pm it was nothing short of bartering so I agreed to this smaller amount just to get rid of her as I was now late for my appointment, I know I should just have put the phone down but that would not stop the calls. I ended up being late for my appointment & the more I thought about it the more annoyed I got how dare they keep harassing me like this, why won’t they listen? I cancelled the £3 Direct Debit,
    I am disabled & ended up having to resort to buying a call blocker as the phone calls were relentless. Last December I ended up helping a local charity for the homeless by printing posters & asking friends & family to put them up at their places of work etc asking for warm clothing & collecting donations of thermal flasks which were given out just before Christmas, I can tell you I got much more satisfaction from doing that. Far too much money goes into the administration of the large charities and not enough to the people they are intended for.

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  4. Really useful advice Jayne. I’ve been involved with the local food banks for some time now – and writing about the lives of the people I meet there. It’s good to use my journalism background in this way and I try to donate food regularly too. I certainly think local is the way to go. I’m so sorry that you’re not able to write as often as you would like because of your depression. You are doing sterling, very valuable work and have great strength of character. Take as much care of yourself as you do of others. x

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  5. While I agree with much of what you have said about the charity industry, I also think it is necessary to go beyond what you have suggested and think about why so many people are in such desperate straits.
    All around our world, there are plentiful resources, more than enough to provide every single person on the planet with everything they need in the way of food, water, clothing and housing.
    So, why are so many going without?
    The answer to that question can be summed up in one word: distribution.
    A lot of valuable resources are consumed through distribution; in particular, the need to pay profits to a small group of people who have been allowed to monopolise the distribution channels.
    In actuality, there should be no need for voluntary organisations to have to arrange food, clothing and shelter for others if we live in a properly social welfare based society locally and globally.
    In order to achieve a social welfare society it is necessary to engage in the political process and to demand that policies are adopted which will stop the levels of growing inequality in our world and see a re-visitation and re-commitment to the kinds of policies implemented in the aftermath of the last war.
    We in this country are rightly proud of our NHS, even though successive governments have cut back and diminished its scale of provision for ordinary people. Nevertheless, sufficient of it remains to provide a base from which to reinvigorate our socially provided health service.
    We should be extending our social education services and social service provision too, instead of giving tax breaks to obscenely wealthy individuals and tax-dodging corporations.
    In all honesty, I feel all those volunteers who spend their time and energy providing shelters and clothing for the homeless and food banks for the hungry should be applying some if not most of that time and energy towards campaigninging for a fairer, more equal and more just society.
    This does mean getting involved in politics but there is no other way to ensure that a new society in which homelessness and hunger become things of the past will ever emerge – is there?

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    • I do understand where you’re coming from John, but think what could be achieved if the current recipients of the local support were enabled to get involved – This is the missing link for me?

      As always love, – In Unity xx

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  6. I so agree with you Jayne – I would love to donate more food to the foodbank nearest to us (an hour by bus!) – so have to wait until one of the supermarkets puts on a donate weekend.
    I give my clothing to the PDSA as you can see just how busy they get when the winter arrives, and it’s nice to see people around town wearing a coat or jumper that I had.
    There is that saying “charity begins at home”, and I take it as it begins to the neighbour down the street who has run out of food for a couple of days, or some sweeties for the children of neighbours who don’t have any cash to spare, even though they both work to try and support their families. Getting in some shortbread only to find that “you don’t like that particular brand” and giving it to the elderly lady down the street.
    And from there it spreads, that’s what charity should be – but I also don’t like the word charity.

    As for John, I agree with you on some points but, these people still need looking after, shelters, warm clothing and food is required all the time and the majority of homeless are not their by choice.
    I am disabled and can’t offer much financial help, but I wouldn’t see anyone starve or shiver with cold, so would go to the local charity shop to buy food or a blanket, and give them some food so that they could have something in their stomachs before travelling many miles to the foodbank.
    I’m not politically minded or clever, and would hope that people like yourself would do what is necessary with things like that, while the likes of me give the practical help that is needed in our local communities.

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  7. Great post Jayne. I very much appreciate your compassionate anger and hope using it to creatively spur you on has helped you move away from your recent `dark days.’ ❤ x

    It appears that many of the national charities work on a similar basis to capitalist corporations. It infuriated me when I was taken in by a chugger believing they were a volunteer. Even when on the bones of my backside, I've always tried to give to those worse off than myself. The evidence is that I'm not alone in this: people who have suffered generally have more empathy for others who suffer.

    With that in mind, I find the way that many charities operate nothing short of despicable and particularly galling when you find out some exec is jetting around the world first class to attend meetings, staying in top class hotels on the "administration cost" of your donation (this is fact – I'm an acquaintance of one!).

    Its funny you covering this because it's a subject I've mused on awhile. Not only is it the methodology behind "chugging", workfare and "expenses" I find reprehensible, but have you noticed how the majority of adverts showing heart-rending footage of suffering children and animals seemed timed in with programming that appeals to pensioners in particular? Talk about cynical, exploitative marketing.

    Another important angle to this is what happens to our donations on the retail side of the larger charity businesses. When I was volunteering for a smaller local charity I was amazed at the amount of stuff generously given. Even clothes that were too worn for the shop were sold to recycling companies by weight. We kept prices to a minimum to keep a healthy turnover. The majority of people who bought from us were people who couldn't afford to buy new and if they made a bit of extra cash reselling on, fine. It was a win-win situation for the charity cause.

    By comparison many of the larger charity shops retail our donations at high prices in "boutique" style shops, designed to appeal to the more affluent (Don't even get me started on Kirsty "vintage Tory" Allsop!). This ideology in practice means rather than selling in larger amounts for lower prices – which would enable poorer customers to purchase more – they sell the vast excess they receive cheaply to private businesses. These in turn ship tons off to Africa to be resold as part of a burgeoning 2nd hand clothes market business which is destroying traditional African textile businesses.

    Interesting to note, the poor (who seem to be at the sharp end of this as usual) give a far larger percentage of their incomings to charity than the rich: http://www.thirdsector.co.uk/poorest-people-give-highest-proportion-income-charity-says-study/fundraising/article/117681

    "the poorest tend to give the highest proportion of their income. In 2010/11, the poorest 20 per cent of those surveyed gave 3.2 per cent of their monthly income to charity, while the richest 20 per cent gave just 0.9 per cent. The remaining 60 per cent of people gave less than 2 per cent"

    I second your appeal: please give local, or make it a point to give to charities not applying exploitative Capitalist practices. I believe compassion is the best tool we have to heal the world – but don't let it be exploited negatively.

    My very best wishes Jane and thanks for inspiration – need to think about sorting a blog out myself at some point, instead of filling up yours with my thoughts. 🙂

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  8. My charity went when most charities were abusing the sick/disabled/jobless on workfare, I would rather burn things than give to charities that were/are involved in such an evil practice. The most galling (to me) are the so-called “Christian” charities that took on unpaid labour – even though it’s totally against bible teaching.

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  9. Thank you for this post – I kept thinking it was just me. When I feel that I have a bit to spare, I buy some stuff for the food bank in with my shopping – they are always in need in cartons of milk! And sugar.

    I never donate to big charities any more.

    One reason is because I find something distasteful and exploitative about charities who relentlessly air depictions of horrific abuse, cruelty and deprivation. Those things are not an awareness exercise, but a way to get money out of poor people, since they air during the day at a time when the audience is highly likely to be unemployed or disabled.

    And secondly, tied into the first reason, when a charity begs money from the poor to help the poorer, while their CEO takes home hundreds of thousands of pounds and enjoys a lifestyle the majority of us will never know, I can’t help imagining thousands and thousands of people, giving up two pounds a month of the pittance they live on so that someone they don’t know can have horses, and a swimming pool, and send their children to public school. Just… no.

    Barring abandoning capitalism (which would be the best day ever), I really don’t know what the answer is.

    On an unrelated note, I’m so sorry you’re poorly at the moment, and I hope that things will get better soon. Please be kind to yourself.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Some very interesting comments above. I still say we should all get involved in political activity to get the politicos to change their policies in order to support the less well-off in our society.
    The general election is less than a year away and it looks likely to be one of the closest for years.
    Now is the optimum time to apply pressure to the political system whilst it is most responsive !!
    Someone mentioned “chuggers”. I always tell them to go away because I know – and they know too – that the first two years of direct debit contributions go to the company organising the chugging.
    The actual charity only starts to receive the contributions after two years have elapsed.
    So donating to charities via chuggers is an utter waste of time and money for at least two years!
    A young women friend of mine who raised all the costs locally for air fare and accommodation went out to Haiti after the massive earthquake, where she worked with other volunteers setting up a school.
    A worker from another charity invited her to spend the weekend at the coast with her and her friends.
    After travelling there in an air conditioned 4X4 – passing huge numbers of people living in basic plastic tents without running water, sewage services or electricity supply – they arrived at the seaside where they were staying in a 5 star hotel. While drinking from the pool bar in the hotel’s swimming pool, my friend noticed a large and luxurious ocean liner which was at anchor out in the bay. When she asked if there were tourists on board she was told it was the overflow accommodation for all the other paid charity workers. My friend got so disgusted by all these professional charity workers and their 5 star lifestyle that she hitched a ride back to the school and stayed there until her term was over.
    For many in the charity industry, it is a wonderful life and a career. I know some get injured and may even lose their lives in some parts of the world but for others higher up the ladder, life can be very sweet and they can always fall back upon the perks – including boosted pension schemes – before enjoying a comfortable and affluent retirement lifestyle, thanks to all the mug donors they have fleeced.

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  11. while i understand people giving to charitys but its become a big joke like jane my mother inlaw gives to much each mnth to them but they phone her asking to up her monies every so often it makes you mad
    but the crunch of it they aint charitys are they most take stacking shelves personal for free but omit that part they get money off the governments to fatten their wallets isnt it a shame there aint no big charitys anymore only money machines yet they made themselves slave traders and this will in my books slave traders doing the governments work for them yet when you could do some shifts of work to help them out when one was feeling well enough to do so they also shot themselves in the foot has now if one goes its fit for work so charitys are theyir worst enemy
    jayne its without doubt if ones disabled sick or affected by our bodies then this government hasnt help us one bit giving one mental health issues ontop of all ones got isnt it strange they tell all they targeting roburstly filling out their reports whilst they help us yet they never say whot help i hope your days are full of sunshine keeping you smilling but you are never alone mores the pity theres to many suffering at their hands jeff3

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  12. Sorry to come back on again but there is one other aspect through which national and global charities actually undermine local communities, which I think needs pointing out.
    Most charity shops pay little or no business rates.
    The also pay little or no rent for their premises.
    Their shop “stock” is usually donated free of charge.
    They usually have just one paid employee and rely heavily upon free labour from volunteers.
    As nationally-registered charities, they pay no corporation tax on their “non-profit” profits.
    Some sell upmarket expensive goods but enjoy far lower overheads than conventional businesses.
    Put all these factors together and you have a non-local operation depressing your local high street.
    The economic advantages it accrues serve to put other local businesses out of business.
    Their economic and financial throughput benefit goes mainly to a head office somewhere else.
    In actuality, therefore, charity businesses (which is what they are) are parasitic upon localities.
    They are often allowed to open by desperate local authorities to keep some sort of “life” on their high streets but they somehow never end up leaving and just keep sucking away on local goodwill and cash.
    You might almost think they welcome the hardship and misery around them, mightn’t you?
    It seemingly does them no harm, does it?

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  13. john im sorry to say They usually have just one paid employee and rely heavily upon free labour from volunteers. this is now not true most take a persons from wrag (work related action group) which are now sent from the jcp these people who are ill disabled or suffering through m/h issues but go they must sent by the jcp to stack shelves for these so called charitys but they get paid these charitys by the government for how long they take em 3mnths or 6mnths they cash for this isnt this now the slave trader bit were blood money is involved when all these people wanted to do was get better in their own time and some did volantier for charities but now its all a sham jeff3

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    • Jeff,
      Thank you for the update.
      I am a retired pensioner so much of the nitty-gritty of the contemporary situation is largely unknown to me – but I think I can grasp the basics.
      We have a local charity for homeless people. As a local councillor I supported the work of the women who set it up, even though they were religiously motivated, which I would find difficult to support now.
      Over time, this small charity has gradually expanded and turned into a medium-sized business.
      A similar situation has emerged with regard to a local hospice.
      The building they occupy was built with money raised by popular local subscription after the First World War but now it is effectively a privatised business unit within the local NHS.
      These examples serve to indicate the extent to which the state is retreating from public service.
      Regrettably, it seems to continue to happen regardless of who gets elected in to office.
      The continuing rise in inequality, combined with increasing levels of coercion and compulsion towards members of society, is affecting large numbers of vulnerable people in our society.
      Ultimately, I can only say that the remedy lies in all our hands – if we all want it enough.
      We all have to join political parties and get involved in shaping their future policies.
      There is no other way.

      Liked by 2 people

      • yes john but like you im 62 another one who had to retire at 56 but sadly ive had my eyes openned by this lot but sadly labour too killed the dentist off but im realy sad that the younger ones cant or wont stand up to tell them no more but i hope to see it before i go and bring back the real labour party but then

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