True and Fair Foundation – If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em

We’ve all been at parties where we’ve been asked what we do. When I used to say that worked for a charity, the person would pause as if disappointed and declare, “Oh. That’s very worthy.”

There was always a hint of sarcasm in the word worthy that I couldn’t quite get to the bottom of. Was I making them feel bad by working for a charity instead of a profit making company? Surely not. But it still happened, again and again.

Neither true nor fair

The ‘True and Fair Foundation’ released a report at the weekend, stating that most charities spend a much smaller percentage of your donation on charitable services than they really should.

NCVO responded to it with this excellent blog by Karl Wilding, and indeed this one. It sets out why the report is so misguided.  You can also read factual rebuttals from the charities named and ‘shamed’ here, here, by the Guardian here, and of course, here.

Gina Miller’s response to rebuttals is that the information she draws on was already in the public domain, in the charity’s financial reports. Which is the equivalent of saying 2 + 2 = 5, because the number 2 was already a published number.

“Complicated, but not that complicated.”

The report appears to have been written about financial statements by someone with almost no knowledge in how to interpret them. What’s more, it was written by someone who actively ignored the professional advice of those who do.

That means they shouldn’t have been doing it in the first place.

Do charities make people feel bad?

Why are charities are under so much attack from nonsense like this right now? Does the whole sector make newspapers and ‘foundations’ like True and Fair feel so bad that they need to find any reason to have a go? Is the fact that our work changes lives and even saves them just too much?

Ridiculous, right?

But it feels like there’s a story most weeks at the moment, and given everything else going on in 2015, I can definitely think of ‘worthier’ targets.

If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em

Whatever the reason, I’m sure of this – no matter how many attacks charities come under, they and their dedicated army of donors and supports won’t be beaten. There is too much important work to do, too much dedication and belief to be swayed by these attacks, however they are motivated.

And for those making the attacks, if you can’t beat ’em, you could always join ’em. Charities can always use entry level financial assistants with a keen willingness to learn.

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