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The Effect On Charities


Dylan
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There's lots of talk about businesses failing and individuals losing their jobs, but I've read very little about how all this will affect charities and the work they do. The latest NSPCC advert on TV uses the phrase 'help children in desperate need'; coming so soon after Children In Need, I get the impression that they're feeling the need to directly compete instead of just pulling on heart strings.

While it's a disgrace that charities like the NSPCC and RNLI (we're an island FFS!) need to exist, what would happen if their funding all but dried up? Would the government feel forced to step in and fund them?

Edited by Dylan
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There's lots of talk about businesses failing and individuals losing their jobs, but I've read very little about how all this will affect charities and the work they do. The latest NSPCC advert on TV uses the phrase 'help children in desperate need'; coming so soon after Children In Need, I get the impression that they're feeling the need to directly compete instead of just pulling on heart strings.

While it's a disgrace that charities like the NSPCC and RNLI (we're an island FFS!) need to exist, what would happen if their funding all but dried up? Would the government feel forced to step in and fund them?

The government funds plenty of charities. Arguably far too many. Its the "third sector" donchaknow.

http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/third_sector.aspx

Edited by Cogs
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I, for one, shall not be too concerned if charities are forced from their big business status back to the volunteer-run concerns that they began as.

My sister works in a hospital in Malawi (she is sponsored by a philanthropist) and her greatest bugbear is the behaviour of some of the big charity workers out there. They live in fenced properties with security guards and chauffeurs and spend their time jetting 1st class around the world attending meetings to tell everyone what wonderful work they are doing. Apart from patronising the locals, they don't seem to do a lot.

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business seems as brisk as ever at a few local charity shops, with high turnover of stock, one has recently put up prices.

My local YMCA shop has recently closed - increase in rent means that they wouldn't take enough to pay the rent. If a charity shop run by volunteers and getting free goods can't make it pay - who can?

It's not like there is a shortage of empty shops around here so I can see the landlord getting bugger all for years.

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One regrettable aspect of the collapse of Wall St banks like Lehman's has been the loss of millions of dollars they pumped into charities in poorer nearby areas.There have been articles on the radio and in the Press on this.

Charities in the UK must be looking anxiously at the risk of a similar phenomenon occuring here.

I have little hope of government help if charities do come under pressure.

Edited by juvenal
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My family choose to support charities that are very efficient. That means that they must be volunteer run and that the vast majority of the funds raised must be spent on delivering services to those in need.

The charities that are most vulnerable to the downturn are those that have become "businesses" in their own right with a large number of paid staff, a low proportion of donations going to services and that expend a large proportion of their resources on activities that do not result in the direct delivery of services.

If a side effect of the credit crunch is that charities go back to serving those in need in an efficient way rather than being a special interest group with an inefficient infrastructure, I will not be displeased.

Charities should not be involved in the setting of public policy. We have elections to do that.

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Most established charities run off large reserves of capital left to them as legacies and covenants. I used to work for one which had so much banked, it actually asked the fundraising team to hold fire a bit while it worked out how to spend some more, as it was in danger of being investigated by the powers that be.

Provided they've got a good spread of investments and didn't just chuck it all into Icesave and Woolies shares, most mid-to-large range charities should be more solvent than the average private sector organisation and consequently a safer employment bet.

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Provided they've got a good spread of investments and didn't just chuck it all into Icesave and Woolies shares, most mid-to-large range charities should be more solvent than the average private sector organisation and consequently a safer employment bet.

I'm told that there's a lot of competition to get decent jobs in this field. Anyone with direct experience?

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I'm told that there's a lot of competition to get decent jobs in this field. Anyone with direct experience?

Yes. Up to 6 months ago people would regularly rotate through senior jobs for a few extra quid so there were always plenty of jobs adevrtised.

Now most people have decided to sit tight, in great part because they know selling their house will be difficult, so the market for senior jobs in the sector has frozen.

There is always a regular turnover at the junior level as this is often slightly underpaid.

Having worked in both charity and private sectors I would say the level of work and pressure is similar in both, but maybe harder to deal with in the semi-public sector as you're having to meet central directives that you feel are nonsense so your motivation is lower. I don't work for a council but I am sure that most of them hold the same views on weekly bin collections as your average householder.

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I'm told that there's a lot of competition to get decent jobs in this field. Anyone with direct experience?

There is a lot of competition. Unless one has direct experience in the field already, it is often necessary to invest a lot of time volunteering to build up some experience before a paid position is possible. This makes a transition to the sector difficult.

Like just about any other sector out there, a lot of really good people are being let go. In both my work and the charities with which I am involved, I am hearing a similar refrain that goes something like : "I am amazed at the quality of people who are applying for this position. I would never have been able to find someone this good two years ago"

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Im at a loss as to why people give to charity. It never actually solves the problem, and more often makes things worse. Its a sign of madness keep doing the same thing and expecting a different result. Maybe it just makes people feel better in themselves.

Starving in Africa. There are now 10x more starving than when Bob Geldolf first started the ball rolling. Well done.

Cancer research. Total scam. Nothing ever seems to be found and yet when a "treatment" is found it costs £10,000s per dose. Strange, you'd think that since the charity had paid for the research the treatment would now cost nothing.

Children in Need. People who should never have children are having lots because the tax system pays them to. Children in need should offer free condoms, contraception injections to women and no guilt abortions. Now that would make a difference.

Homeless (Big Issue) Funny how every year there seems to be more homeless people selling the mag.

Im sure there must be some charities out there that actually are worthwhile, like life boat men for instance. But I think they are the exception to the rule.

Edited by Johnny Storm
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I suspect that when Iceland went tits up and it was revealed that numerous UK charities had vast sums of cash in Icelandic banks that it did a great deal of damage to charities generally. People may well ask what sums do these charities have in other banks.

As for the RNLI - great organisation, brave people, had a relative who was a big wig in it but I always wonder why it does not run from some kind of taxation? I wonder why boat owners do not pay some kind of VED like car owners do. I surf so probably surfers should pay something also.

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I, for one, shall not be too concerned if charities are forced from their big business status back to the volunteer-run concerns that they began as.

It is only a very small proportion of charities that this includes (see NCVO for numbers - too lazy to link). The vast majority of charities are still dependent on volunteers to function and there is no flying anywhere. Nor is there any fundraising team or legacies to rely on in tough times. Service managers and directors write funding applications in addition to service delivery, management, HR, monitoring and everything else needed to keep the organisation functioning.

I work for a small charity, we do get government funding and it is the bane of our existence (though we could not function without it). The level of administration required to prove "value for money" is incredibly burdonsome and complex. We could not rely on volunteers for this, we need accountants and people trained in statistics. It is a very strange development and only likely to get worse - I would venture a guess that most small charities won't make it. Only the big - business type charities (and private businesses now) can win the commissioning of services. I think the organisation I work for will be closed or merged by next year - and it's been around for 25 years.

I think these are tough times all around and small and medium sized charities will be at serious risk. You won't see them close though as they don't advertise or ask for money on the street, no paper will care when they quietly make their 10 staff members redundant (with only the 4 weeks redundancy pay that is legally required) and the people and communities they served will often have no where to go to get help.

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The thing that gets me about charities is that they are often filling the gap for things that our tax money should in fact be covering and obviously isn't. They in a sense let the government off the hook for inadequate funding of their most important functions while overspending shamelessly on never ending big brother and bureaucratic nonsense that nobody wants.

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Im at a loss as to why people give to charity. It never actually solves the problem, and more often makes things worse.

Im sure there must be some charities out there that actually are worthwhile, like life boat men for instance. But I think they are the exception to the rule.

Our family tend to only give to charities where we also volunteer so that we know whether our donations make a difference or whether we just contribute to a quasi-government infrastructure which is pointless.

We find that meeting basic needs like food, shelter and clothing is the best way for us to be effective. While we are not religious at all, we do find that church run groups are generally efficient.

As times get harder, donors will consider their contributions in the same way as any other financial decision. I agree with your assessment that charities that are ineffective will lose out.

Hopefully the good ones won't get thrown out with the bath water.

I encourage people to do their research and to please continue to give, even when it is very difficult to do so.

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I, for one, shall not be too concerned if charities are forced from their big business status back to the volunteer-run concerns that they began as.

My sister works in a hospital in Malawi (she is sponsored by a philanthropist) and her greatest bugbear is the behaviour of some of the big charity workers out there. They live in fenced properties with security guards and chauffeurs and spend their time jetting 1st class around the world attending meetings to tell everyone what wonderful work they are doing. Apart from patronising the locals, they don't seem to do a lot.

Perfect training then for govt and local govt positions then?

I do nothing but attend meetings as I'm too important to do any real work.

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The thing that gets me about charities is that they are often filling the gap for things that our tax money should in fact be covering and obviously isn't. They in a sense let the government off the hook for inadequate funding of their most important functions while overspending shamelessly on never ending big brother and bureaucratic nonsense that nobody wants.

Amen to that one.

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http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/conte...8112200301.html

This in the washington post today.

Charities are hurtin'.

After nearly a decade of record growth, U.S. nonprofits are getting hit from all directions. Some foundations are scaling back on awarding grants as endowments shrink in the stock market meltdown. State and local governments -- facing falling tax revenue -- are slashing budgets and cutting back on funding. Individuals, too, will probably hold back on giving this holiday season, experts say, as withered 401(k) accounts and sunken home values take a toll.

Add to that the troubled state of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The mortgage finance giants have long been the Washington region's biggest corporate benefactors and gave a combined $47 million to charities last year. As a result of the federal takeover, Fannie and Freddie could decrease or halt their giving altogether, reshaping the area's philanthropic landscape.

In response, many area nonprofits have trimmed overhead costs, frozen hiring and are anxiously considering cutting programs and laying off staff members in a struggle for solvency and survival. The hardship comes just as they face rising demand for services from people hit by the crumbling economy.

"Things are brittle and delicate," said Diana Aviv, president of Independent Sector, a national coalition of charities. "I don't think nonprofit organizations can be confident for next year. They don't have cushions. . . . We could see the extinction or demise of a lot of organizations whose missions and whose works have been essential to society."

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The thing that gets me about charities is that they are often filling the gap for things that our tax money should in fact be covering and obviously isn't. They in a sense let the government off the hook for inadequate funding of their most important functions while overspending shamelessly on never ending big brother and bureaucratic nonsense that nobody wants.

Spot on.

One possible benefit of the dire situation that we are in might be that governments at all levels are forced to look carefully at how they spend our money and stop doing silly things with it.

One definition that I read recently (sorry no attribution) is that a liberal is willing to spend other people's money on what they think is important while a conservative is willing to spend their own money on what they think is important.

That could explain why charities co-exist with large government.

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The thing that gets me about charities is that they are often filling the gap for things that our tax money should in fact be covering and obviously isn't. They in a sense let the government off the hook for inadequate funding of their most important functions while overspending shamelessly on never ending big brother and bureaucratic nonsense that nobody wants.

Well said. Just another form of tax, although volunteered.

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Im at a loss as to why people give to charity. It never actually solves the problem, and more often makes things worse.

Agreed. I give to the RNLI, British Legion and local charities where I know there aren't these top heavy management stylees operating. This link is interesting: http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=topten - I tried to find the top ten richest list, but it is quite difficult to find! From memory I think Cancer Research is right up there, Church of England and RSPCA - they've got millions in reserves.

I never give to clipboard canvassers - what a royal rip off that is.

Another point is, the charity shops are awash with cheap Mark One, Primark clothes which cannot make them a bean really as they only cost £3 a jumper to buy new.

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