War has been declared on the charity sector – why aren’t we fighting back?

UPDATE: The Drum picked up on my post. Read it here.

Both the national newspapers and the Government seem to have declared war on the sector. It all started with the death of Olive Cooke. Then it moved on to charities ‘hounding vulnerable people on a no-call list’ before a, seemingly, very personal attack on fundraising directors. Now charities are being told to draw up written agreements showing how vulnerable people will be protected from ‘aggressive’ fundraising tactics. And then there was this article today about how 50% of Alzheimer’s Society’s funds are spent on staff.

Wait. You mean, charity staff get paid? Well blow me down.

Thank goodness CEO, Jeremy Hughes, commented in the Guardian.

Please read it. It is excellent.

Here is a highlight:

Alzheimer’s Society employs 2,500 staff, the vast majority of whom provide services to help people with dementia live their lives as well as they can. We do spend £42m of the £84m we raise on our staff. And they are worth every penny.

Now what I’d like to know is, what are we going to do about this?

Why is the sector not putting on their war paint and digging their trenches? We should and we MUST defend our sector.

Here’s what you can do

1. Read this excellent piece by Ian MacQuillin. 2. Stand up for our sector and show your support by leaving a comment on Jeremy Hughes’s Guardian article. 3. Get involved in CharityComms’s Understanding Charities Group. 4. Contribute to the Guardian Voluntary Sector’s open thread: Charity fundraising: how do we fix this mess? These are all things that we can do as individuals in the sector but what I’d really love to see are charities coming together and not just defending their staff’s pay but also showing their impact. How much have dementia charities saved the NHS? How many lives have been saved from charity helplines? How many people or families still have their homes and food to eat because of charities like Shelter, Crisis and The Trussell Trust? How many charity sector staff would be homeless if they were volunteers and unpaid? Oh but that’s ok – there are plenty of benefits to claim and council houses to go round.

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