to think at last something has exposed this scandal

(275 Posts)
Crumbledwalnuts Tue 06-Aug-13 04:05:34
Bearandcub Tue 06-Aug-13 04:27:58

YANBU

AmandaCooper Tue 06-Aug-13 07:03:38

Talented business people being paid market rate salaries? Where's the scam in that?

Tee2072 Tue 06-Aug-13 07:19:42

The scam is...what exactly? People at high levels get paid high salaries, no matter the business. That's life.

My objection is that there is no transparency or any clear indication that x% of your donation goes towards 'admin costs' or the fact that govt money (your taxes) goes to staff who have less accountability.

There is no qualm in paying the staff a market rate, but with a non profit objective I don't quite understand how performance is measured.

DontmindifIdo Tue 06-Aug-13 07:22:47

Another asking what the scam is? For the job they do, that would be considered a v low package in the commercial sector, most will have taken at least a 50% pay cut to work for a charity.

Frenchvanilla Tue 06-Aug-13 07:26:43

Monitoring & evaluation, fleshwound

AngryGnome Tue 06-Aug-13 07:27:20

Can't see how it is a scam - senior roles requiring a high level of experience and sector knowledge will always, and should always, be appropriately rewarded. I'm also not clear as to why you can't measure performance in a not-for-profit sector. There are many ways to measure performance without looking at profit levels - pretty much all public sector roles have their performance measured in terms of their working standards, quality etc - no profit measuring involved.

MrsKwazii Tue 06-Aug-13 07:28:03

Are people who work for charities meant to be paid peanuts? Many Chief Execs and similar are running multimillion pound charities, salaries need to reflect that if you want someone of the right calibre to fill the post.

The same can also be said of the public sector btw. Want important services that cost millions to run and have a profound effect on people's lives run properly? Pay accordingly.

Lazyjaney Tue 06-Aug-13 07:28:08

Charities are not audited like companies, and the amounts that actually get to the supposed Recipients are sometimes ludicrously rather small given what the chiefs pay themselves - I agree it's a scandal waiting to break.

Onetwothreeoops Tue 06-Aug-13 07:30:13

It does sound like there needs to be more clarity. A 12% pay rise since 2010 when revenue has fallen doesn't sound right to me. Also am I reading it right that when we donate money to charity up to 7% goes to management of the charity and 4% goes to fund raising?

Lollydaydream Tue 06-Aug-13 07:30:55

If you want to know about admin costs of any charity look at their accounts; they separate out spend on charitable objectives and on running costs. You can see executive pay in the notes to the accounts: the charity commission website even gives you standardized graphs so you can see the split at a glance. The information is out there, it doesn't need to be 'exposed' and the fact the charity commission had raised concerns shows that it is monitored. There is no widespread scandal.

Tee2072 Tue 06-Aug-13 07:30:56

It's hardly a scandal waiting to break if most of us seem aware of it and find nothing wrong with it, now is it?

Where's the scandal?!?!

Shock! Horror! Highly placed person gets appropriate salary!!! Film at 11!!!!

The scandal is private CEOs who destroyed our economy and still get their salaries despite not making targets. That's the scandal no one seems to want to talk about.

Lollydaydream Tue 06-Aug-13 07:36:03

Charities are audited.

But by whom? Yes, just because it is a charity doesn't mean work for peanuts, but be upfront about the % of donation that goes to the cause.

BeckAndCall Tue 06-Aug-13 07:40:44

Of course charities are audited just like companies.

They are registered with the charity commission which has very strict reporting requirements and accounts and disclosures are required to be prepared in accordance with the Charities SORP, which in my experience, is at least as onerous as companies accounts disclosure requirements.

And in any case, auditing has nothing do with how much the staff are paid. For both charities and companies this has to be disclosed, but the audit has no role in setting any of the rates.

razmataz Tue 06-Aug-13 07:41:41

I don't have an issue per se with senior management being paid appropriate wages, but I do have an issue with the fact that when I worked in the charity sector, my pay was about 30% higher for a job that actually involved a lot less work and responsibility than either of the jobs I did before and afterwards - in the commercial sector.

Even now, having been promoted to manager level, my wage is lower than it was at coordinator level at the charity. Not that I think charities should be stingy, but they certainly don't have as keen an eye on the bottom line.

Lollydaydream Tue 06-Aug-13 07:43:01

Charities are audited by qualified accountants adhering to charity commission regulations and often companies house requirements too. The bug charities would use auditors from the big accountants firms who have their in specialist charity teams. The accounts show what they spend on charitable objectives.

Mimishimi Tue 06-Aug-13 07:49:08

YANBU. I simply detest it when the executives of these companies (and that is what they are) complain or justify that if they were working in the private sector, they would be paid a lot more for the level of the position they hold. When the truth is that many of them couldn't achieve that level of job in the private sector anyway. Had close experience of this with the husband of a friend of my parents.

For this reason, I am very picky about the charities I choose to donate to.

But where exactly is the accountability? The charities commission has regularly been found wanting.

It is a bit like the MPs with the expenses scandal saying that they were just playing by the rules and doing nothing wrong.

Lazyjaney Tue 06-Aug-13 07:55:26

Of course charities are audited just like companies

Bullshit.

Lollydaydream Tue 06-Aug-13 07:57:15

But where exactly is the accountability? The charities commission has regularly been found wanting.
So you'd like the Charity Commission to show/ use more teeth? That would good, though it does seem a bit churlish to complain at the moment when they have raised this as an issue. Or do you have another solution?

Lazyjaney Tue 06-Aug-13 07:58:46

Charities have been vigorously resisting being made to be as transparent as companies for years, but there has been a huge growth in charities in the last decade or so precisely because of the obcsuration of their financial affairs.

Lollydaydream Tue 06-Aug-13 07:59:15

Can you tell me why you don't think charities are audited rather than shouting bullshit.

TheAccidentalExhibitionist Tue 06-Aug-13 08:00:16

It's worth looking at the audited accounts and Trustee report on the Charity commission website. I have more issues with how much is spent on marketing.
The bigger the charity the higher their non donatable costs will be.

I try and support smaller, local charities where my money makes more of a difference and won't go on sales phone calls and wages.

MrsBungle Tue 06-Aug-13 08:01:47

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

meditrina Tue 06-Aug-13 08:02:04

"but there has been a huge growth in charities in the last decade or so"

I didn't know that. What is the amount of that growth?

TheAccidentalExhibitionist Tue 06-Aug-13 08:04:04

Um, yes charities are audited LazyJaney

I believe the Charity Commission has had to downsize due to lack of funding, this has meant less random investigations of charities and more reliance on audited accounts and good, clear explanations of their expenses in the Trustee reports.

badguider Tue 06-Aug-13 08:05:18

In Scotland all charity accounts go through oscr and are audited and scrutinised. Even my guide units accounts have to be sumitted to oscr yearly.

bruffin Tue 06-Aug-13 08:07:06

Charities are not audited like companies, and the amounts that actually get to the supposed Recipients are sometimes ludicrously rather small given what the chiefs pay themselves - I agree it's a scandal waiting to break.

What absolute nonsense. I worked in the accounts department of a charity for 11 years and I can tell you that they were always being audited. Audited for gift aid, proper accounts audits and charity commission audits. I darnt put a foot wrong because i knew that we would be pulled up on it.

NotDead Tue 06-Aug-13 08:07:10

"any fool can make money if their staff work for nothing. Slavery and Charities have taught us this".. me

MrsBungle Tue 06-Aug-13 08:07:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

badguider Tue 06-Aug-13 08:09:01

On the other hand - half of this article seems to be more about the amount if public money going into charities. This isn't some kind of altruistic giving by the government. It's part of the whole conservative policy to outsource govt obligations to private companies and the third sector. If you don't support that then complain about the govt not the charities who are picking up the slack!

AmandaCooper Tue 06-Aug-13 08:09:18

What are you referring to when you say the Charity Commission has "regularly been found wanting" justafleshwound?

bruffin Tue 06-Aug-13 08:10:31

I have more issues with how much is spent on marketing.

Do you realise that some charities raise money specifically for marketing and they are not allowed to spend that money on anything else, its called restricted funds.
Also spending a eg £1 on marketing could raise £10 where as they may have only raised £5 with no marketing, so by spending £1 they are £4 better off.

flatpackhamster Tue 06-Aug-13 08:15:42

TheAccidentalExhibitionist

The bigger the charity the higher their non donatable costs will be.

Yes, but as a proportion of their total income, their maintenance costs should fall because they can make use of economies of scale.

There are plenty of scandals waiting to pop out of the Charities closet. This is one. The "charity receives taxpayers' money, lobbies government for more taxpayers' money" merry-go-round is another. A third is the overtly political activity of charities, who aren't supposed to be political vehicles.
A fourth IMO is that some charities, particularly large ones are now dependent on taxpayers' money for their continued operation. Oxfam, for example, gets 1/4 of its income from the taxpayer via grants through central, local and supranational government.

flatpackhamster Tue 06-Aug-13 08:17:52

badguider

On the other hand - half of this article seems to be more about the amount if public money going into charities. This isn't some kind of altruistic giving by the government. It's part of the whole conservative policy to outsource govt obligations to private companies and the third sector. If you don't support that then complain about the govt not the charities who are picking up the slack!

Not the case. Government funding to charities became huge under the Labour government. The co-alition's policy, IIRC, is to ensure that charities take over where government ends, not to fund those charities and treat them as another arm of the state.

Fourwillies Tue 06-Aug-13 08:18:35

I'm a trustee of a charity you would have heard of and we are fully audited, our accounts are available to anyone and all trustees are registered at Companies House. Our Chief Exec is an ex investment banker, our chairman ran a huge retail chain, our treasurer is also a finance director of a FTSE100 company and the rest of the committee were and are high career achievers. Only our chief exec is paid, and he earns less than a fifth of what he did previously. He does the job because he's committed to the cause.

There's no scam, and Third Sector should be able to pay the salaries it needs. Our particular charity provides a service, delivered by paid staff. Their salaries are "admin" costs but without them we wouldn't exist, so it's a red herring to think that "admin" means money that doesn't directly go to the end user. Often it's one and the same.

Fourwillies Tue 06-Aug-13 08:21:30

As for charities being reliant on state funding - if they are providing a service to the state then so what? I'm thinking particularly drug and alcohol charities, and housing charities - often reliant on local govt contracts in order to function and for that they counsel and house people that current state provision can't provide for. What's the problem ?

PareyMortas Tue 06-Aug-13 08:21:36

YABU

A quick search shows the commission has been found wanting wrt charity using this status as a tax avoidance schemes, being unable to remove this status

Wtf do you think your money pais for when you donate if it's not to pay experienced and skilled people to run the charities well....?

badguider Tue 06-Aug-13 08:26:54

flatpack - "Government funding to charities became huge under the Labour government. The co-alition's policy, IIRC, is to ensure that charities take over where government ends, not to fund those charities and treat them as another arm of the state."

I didn't mean to imply that new labour didn't do this also, as I was just talking about the current situation not the history of it...

The current situation IS that the coalition is reducing the provision of direct state services so that the line where the government ends is moving and more responsibility for service provision is moving into the private and third sectors. This is definitely happening... in finding jobs for 'difficult to place' candidates and in housing for sure, also some drug and alcohol fields, and some social care fields...

bruffin Tue 06-Aug-13 08:27:14

A fourth IMO is that some charities, particularly large ones are now dependent on taxpayers' money for their continued operation
The charity i worked for provided a service the government should have been providing, The local council provided 1/3 of the funding for 3 years to set up the office, the other 2/3s were provided by mainly large corporations. We saved the government money!

flatpackhamster Tue 06-Aug-13 08:28:41

Fourwillies

As for charities being reliant on state funding - if they are providing a service to the state then so what? I'm thinking particularly drug and alcohol charities, and housing charities - often reliant on local govt contracts in order to function and for that they counsel and house people that current state provision can't provide for. What's the problem ?

They shouldn't be providing a service to the state. That's the problem.

If there's a role the state should be fulfilling, then it should fulfil it. There needs to be a clearer distinction between the job that the local/regional/national government does, and the job that the charity does, and taxpayer's money going to charities to provide services blurs that distinction. It encourages the charity's focus away from the people they're trying to help and on to how to obtain their next chunk of money from the taxpayer.

bruffin Tue 06-Aug-13 08:30:10

Meant to say that charity was set up over 20 years ago, so nothing to do with the current government.

badguider Tue 06-Aug-13 08:30:18

And I'm not saying that it's always a bad thing... but you can't support the govt putting out contracts which third sector organisations can compete for and win and then complain about the third sector getting those 'public funds'.
Better a charity than bloomin G4S again in my opinion!

I am sure that there is a lot of charities who are above board, however, like everything, the inability of the commission and other interested parties to crack down on the rogue elements makes it harder for the man on the street to trust that ££££ is going where it should.

Personally, charity for me begins at home and I would rather donate goods, time or services to local charities.

Fourwillies Tue 06-Aug-13 08:35:44

"They shouldn't be providing a service to the state. That's the problem.

If there's a role the state should be fulfilling, then it should fulfil it. There needs to be a clearer distinction between the job that the local/regional/national government does, and the job that the charity does, and taxpayer's money going to charities to provide services blurs that distinction. It encourages the charity's focus away from the people they're trying to help and on to how to obtain their next chunk of money from the taxpayer."

Words cannot express adequately what rot that is.

How do you think the state would go about providing the services they currently purchase from specialist charities??? They would have to buy in the expertise, from the existing charity! The cost would be astronomic, not to mention the drain on manpower for the charity, to take on headcount, superannuated staff, all to provide a service they can tender and contract for cheaply using existing third sector. And

blueraincoat Tue 06-Aug-13 08:37:56

Charities are heavily audited, it's my job!

Fourwillies Tue 06-Aug-13 08:38:04

As for "taking up time bidding for contracts" (my précis) that's simply not true, as the relationship between the charities and local govt is often such a close one that the tenders are written with the charities in mind. That's just good supplier relations and happens in a commercial setting too I might add.

bruffin Tue 06-Aug-13 08:39:28

Agree Fourwillies.

Binkybix Tue 06-Aug-13 08:46:16

Having worked in a charity I agree that people in the part of the charity I worked in were more well paid than public sector equivalents, as well as being of a slightly lower calibre. Their hours were also less and jobs less complex. There was also someone on over 6 figures who was an ineffective manager of the bit I was in.

I know this was just one part of one very big charity though, so may not be the case in all charities. Just my personal experience.

BeckAndCall Tue 06-Aug-13 08:46:38

So I'm talking bullshit am I lazyjane?

So how many charities do you audit as your day job? Quite a few less than me, I'm guessing........

Bowlersarm Tue 06-Aug-13 08:54:20

YABU

Unless I'm missing something.

Hasn't David Miliband, the darling of the Labour Party, just taken a high profile job at a charity in New York. For quite a lot of money?

This has been front page news for months. Hardly a dirty little secret.

I fail to see how a scandal has been exposed and it's a scam.

Surely you need top business people to run top businesses?

Lollydaydream Tue 06-Aug-13 08:57:24

thank goodness you're here beckandcall I was beginning to feel delusional !

bumblebeaver Tue 06-Aug-13 09:02:16

We recently fundraised for this charity for our wedding. It's run by John Humphrys and has no admin costs.

ClayDavis Tue 06-Aug-13 09:04:00

Personally, charity for me begins at home and I would rather donate goods, time or services to local charities.

That's all very well, but how exactly do you think the rent, and the heating/electric bill and the phone bill get paid. Not to mention the consumables that people wouldn't think to donate like paper, toner for the photocopier etc.

Fourwillies Tue 06-Aug-13 09:06:24

We recently fundraised for this charity for our wedding. It's run by John Humphrys and has no admin costs."

They absolutely have admin costs, hmm but strive to keep them to a minimum.

TheAccidentalExhibitionist Tue 06-Aug-13 09:11:21

Erm, I can't see the problem with anyone saying they would donate goods, time or services to local charities. Your point shouldn't include a criticism on how this poster chooses to donate confused

Blissx Tue 06-Aug-13 09:14:23

Is the OP going to comment and explain why they think it is 'almost a scam'?

Sorry - the next segment on the 'fundfest' that is comic relief a poor starving african orphan dying next to the tonerless printer ...

I don't think anyone objects to reasonable costs but be a bit more upfront about it.

ClayDavis Tue 06-Aug-13 09:21:00

The poster's point was that she would rather give those things than money because she thought that money doesn't go where she thinks it 'should'. If everybody starts to think like that then lots of these charities aren't going to exist at all, particularly the smaller local ones.

bumblebeaver Tue 06-Aug-13 09:21:58

Fourwillies ok, so not zero admin costs, but I understood he administered the funds on his travels with his work. Just trying to be helpful, not sure that merited a hmm.

Some charities will be better run than others, like any company.

But in 2005 I was in a part of Sri Lanka hard hit by the tsunami the preceding year and did then think all the brand spanking new USAID 4x4s racing around seemed a bit over the top.

Highlander Tue 06-Aug-13 09:25:54

Strangely medical charities don't feel compelled to insist that Universities pay research staff a decent wage. Most post-docs are now employed at a grade lower than they were 10 years ago.

BrainGoneAwol Tue 06-Aug-13 09:27:40

What a ridiculous aibu!

I have worked for a DEC charity. I now work for one that provides a service that the govt should be providing, but farms out (I don't think this is always possible though as a pp said). I have also worked as an auditor and in the commercial sector. I could add at least 40% to my salary if I went back to practice or commerce. I don't because I believe charities are important and I also love what I do.

All charities are audited at least as rigorously as a company. I'll add Housing Corporation as another regulatory body to the lists earlier. Large charities are also likely to have to report under International Standards soon as well.

There are of course some people who abuse the charity system/status but you sadly always get people like this everywhere. The vast majority are doing an amazing job with serious challenges and less reward.

It's gratifying to see so many mners so clued up. I saw the op and was expecting another uninformed bashing grin

TheAccidentalExhibitionist Tue 06-Aug-13 09:34:08

Excellent post BrainGoneAwol

Crumbledwalnuts Tue 06-Aug-13 09:34:33

My husband is stopping his donations to all the charities where the chief executive earns over £100,000 after reading this smile He'll give to smaller and more focussed charities now. There are plenty of them, which manage very well.

Fourwillies Tue 06-Aug-13 09:37:25

Your husband is a wally then. smile

Crumbledwalnuts Tue 06-Aug-13 09:39:04

Perhaps he's just seen a little more of life than you smile

Fourwillies Tue 06-Aug-13 09:39:32

What??

Crumbledwalnuts Tue 06-Aug-13 09:40:44

..and is therefore more able to make a judgementsmile

Fourwillies Tue 06-Aug-13 09:42:05

He's seen enough of life to deduce that in order to run a huge multinational company which has a charitable status and multiple million pound turnover, no one should earn over £100k?

Riight. Bright lad.

AmandaCooper Tue 06-Aug-13 09:43:25

What??

TheAccidentalExhibitionist Tue 06-Aug-13 09:43:29

What a shame this thread has descended into personal attacks. I'll leave this thread now.

Crumbledwalnuts Tue 06-Aug-13 09:43:45

Actually he thinks 100-k is reasonable. Anything over, not at all. The PM earns only 143 and runs the country. 180K is ludicrous. Impossible to justify.

Bowlersarm Tue 06-Aug-13 09:45:06

Oh my Lord OP, what a very naive person you are. Not to have realised this.

Doesn't matter I suppose which charities you give to. As long as you keep on giving. smile

noobieteacher Tue 06-Aug-13 09:46:49

Haha - the Chair of the Charities Commission earns £150,000! Avinalaugh.

I think it's reverse publicity - they will encourage interest from the best people if they announce that you can earn lots of money running a charity.

A lot of charity boards consist of old boy network type people, who don't actually have much expertise in the area that the particular charity is involved in.

Bowlersarm Tue 06-Aug-13 09:58:32

OP. Did it not occur to you or your DH to research where your money is going to?

Especially if you have money going out month after month in direct debits. Or clearly, you must have a lot of disposable income and it doesn't matter to you?

Personally I think it's great you will be giving other charities a go. And spreading donations around.

Can i suggest that either you or your DH now does a little bit of research this time?

Fourwillies Tue 06-Aug-13 10:06:29

OP David Cameron has a personal fortune of a conservative estimate of. £10,000,000. Samantha Cameron's dad is worth £20,000,000. I doubt his salary gets touched. He isn't running the country on his salary.<sigh>

Crumbledwalnuts Tue 06-Aug-13 10:11:30

They don't adjust the salary according to the personal income of the man in the job. They get that whether they have personal wealth or not.

Bowlersarm: oh yes, that's why I don't give to those charities and he does. He researched the work they do rather than the salary structure. I've said it to him before but he is his own man.

Crumbledwalnuts Tue 06-Aug-13 10:12:37

It's a joke, really. It's the same as the public sector, and private corps to a certain extent. Someone else's money so it doesn't matter.

Bowlersarm Tue 06-Aug-13 10:13:31

Well, have fun choosing your new charities.

Fourwillies Tue 06-Aug-13 10:13:42

"They don't adjust the salary according to the personal income of the man in the job. They get that whether they have personal wealth or not."

Well quite, so your argument is that there is no harder job than running the country, so no one should be paid more than this? Seriously?

Crumbledwalnuts Tue 06-Aug-13 10:14:34

I've seen links here to very tiny charities, mainly run by women and helping women, which will benefit. Some of the mumsnetters involved in this kind of work, on very low salaries, are extremely impressive.

Crumbledwalnuts Tue 06-Aug-13 10:18:11

Well you brought up his personal wealth, with a stupid <sigh>. What on earth was your point?

bruffin Tue 06-Aug-13 10:21:10

Those tiny charities will not have the impact on hundreds of thousands of people. And would also say that volunteers are not always the most professional of people. One actually did me out of nearly two weeks wages because she felt she was untouchable.

Fourwillies Tue 06-Aug-13 10:22:54

I'll just repeat my question crumbledwalnuts

So your argument is that there is no harder job than running the country, so no one should be paid more than this?

Crumbledwalnuts Tue 06-Aug-13 10:23:38

My husband has seen bigger charities at work in disaster zones. It's not the biggest charities that are always the most effective.

Crumbledwalnuts Tue 06-Aug-13 10:23:56

I'll just repeat mine. What was your point?

Fourwillies Tue 06-Aug-13 10:26:57

You brought up unjustifiable salaries in the third sector and then pointed out that some are paid more than the PM. I'm asking you what relevance of that is.

Binkybix Tue 06-Aug-13 10:30:18

If we're talking about who 'should' be paid the most, maybe we need to think about two categories?

1. A private/shareholder owned company that makes profit should presumably be allowed to use that profit how it likes - subject to good governance, remuneration committee etc (I know this is simplified).

2. Roles funded by taxes/donations.

I don't really agree PM needs to have highest salary, but also don't understand the point of bringing up David Cameron's personal wealth.

flatpackhamster Tue 06-Aug-13 10:31:04

Fourwillies

Words cannot express adequately what rot that is.

In your opinion. But you're approaching the argument from the following assumptions:

The state must do everything to help everyone;
The taxpayer should pay for this;
Any mechanism (ie charities) which extends the reach of the state in to people's lives is, by definition, a good thing.

If you work on those assumptions then what I wrote is 'rot'. But I don't work on the assumption that it's the job of the government to do absolutely everything. The last decade and a half have seen the extension of government in to more and more parts of our lives and a huge increase in unaffordable expenditure. Perhaps one of the locations where money is being wasted is in government contracts to charities.

How do you think the state would go about providing the services they currently purchase from specialist charities??? They would have to buy in the expertise, from the existing charity!

Of course they wouldn't. The roles the state needs to fulfil can be handled by state employees, who are trained and managed by the state.

The cost would be astronomic, not to mention the drain on manpower for the charity, to take on headcount, superannuated staff, all to provide a service they can tender and contract for cheaply using existing third sector.

'Cheaply'. That's a relative term if ever I saw one. To obtain taxpayers' money, the government has to obtain in through complex tax laws, process it through HMRC, push it through the sieve of bureaucracy up to the treasury, who then dole it back out to central government departments and local councils. How is that 'cheap'?

And As for "taking up time bidding for contracts" (my précis) that's simply not true, as the relationship between the charities and local govt is often such a close one that the tenders are written with the charities in mind. That's just good supplier relations and happens in a commercial setting too I might add.

Or 'rigging the market', as it's also known.

AmandaCooper Tue 06-Aug-13 10:33:56

The job of prime minister of the United Kingdom is actually quite an attractive one for all sorts of reasons; there has to be a salary, otherwise the less well off would be completely excluded, but of all the perks that is probably the least important. There's no difficulty attracting good candidates from the private sector to the post.

Binkybix Tue 06-Aug-13 10:40:06

Agree that tendering public contracts by writing tenders to favour one bidder is usually not allowed, apart from some restricted situations. Different in private sector because they don't have to tender - they do it to save money rather than fulfil legal obligations. I think. smile

Not saying in doesn't happen though.

Binkybix Tue 06-Aug-13 10:40:39

And agree re PM job - and you rake it in afterwards!

Fourwillies Tue 06-Aug-13 10:42:37

"In your opinion. But you're approaching the argument from the following assumptions:

The state must do everything to help everyone;
The taxpayer should pay for this;
Any mechanism (ie charities) which extends the reach of the state in to people's lives is, by definition, a good thing.

If you work on those assumptions then what I wrote is 'rot'. But I don't work on the assumption that it's the job of the government to do absolutely everything. The last decade and a half have seen the extension of government in to more and more parts of our lives and a huge increase in unaffordable expenditure. Perhaps one of the locations where money is being wasted is in government contracts to charities. "

Fair enough, that is how I read your initial post.
But there are expertise and experience in the chair you sector which wouldn't or couldn't transfer to local govt easily. One example off hand is a charity I've worked with, involving drugs and probation. Some of the key workers have a criminal history which would make them incompatible with moving to work for the state, yet their experience is invaluable. I also doubt they would want to, or even be able to comply with general workplace requirements but by being employed by a charity they're able to contribute something of real worth.

Regarding administration of contracts and the mechanisms in place, those mechanisms are in place for ALL govt contracts and purchasing. To set up and design and administer an entirely new in-house system would be hugely expensive.

And we will have to disagree about "rigging the market" - that's just plain account management.

Fourwillies Tue 06-Aug-13 10:45:28

The way it works is the suppliers maintain good relations with the tender writers and also outline what services they can provide. Then the tendering organisation can take (or not take) this into account when writing the tender.

(As I type I'm sitting with an Oil and Gas type tender document and it's all surprisingly similar!)

Binkybix Tue 06-Aug-13 10:50:41

I agree on specialist provision not needing to be done directly by Gvt, but I am pretty sure that writing a tender to favour one bidder (when public money) is against procurement law, so it's not really just good account management. As I say, there are some exceptions, such as security, but if challenged and upheld the contract can be undone and compensation required.

Binkybix Tue 06-Aug-13 10:57:07

Oh ok - yes, you can engage to understand what is available of course and put that in a tender. But you can't put things in purely to make it more likely one bidder will succeed over the other (ie not directly related to service). I don't think we're actually disagreeing on this smile

BrokenSunglasses Tue 06-Aug-13 11:14:26

The poster's point was that she would rather give those things than money because she thought that money doesn't go where she thinks it 'should'. If everybody starts to think like that then lots of these charities aren't going to exist at all, particularly the smaller local ones.

I agree with this point. I help run a very small charity, and the regular donations from individuals are what enable us to actually exist. We have found it easy to find grants and donations of hundreds or thousands of pounds to pay for equipment we need, but without the small donations from individuals we wouldn't be able to pay for the insurance or servicing to enable us to actually use the larger donations. Companies and grant giving organisations don't want to pay for the boring stuff that no one except the treasurer and trustees notice.

SunshineBossaNova Tue 06-Aug-13 11:15:45

YABU

Caster8 Tue 06-Aug-13 11:24:08

Good to know where the money goes that you are donating to.

Often small local charities, that help people in need in your local area, which others nationally will not have heard of,and therefore desperate for funds and do not spend much on admin and staff costs, may be a very good place to donate money to.

Hayleyh34 Tue 06-Aug-13 11:42:15

Quite clear that several people on this thread have no idea what they're talking about.

I've worked in the charity world for the past 15 years. I am paid to do this. I am also expected to generate 8 times my salary per year in donations. Charities need skilled staff and have to pay them accordingly in order to survive. Charities are audited.

If you want to see how much a charity spends on salaries, look at their annual report before donating. Nothing is hidden.

Without skilled fundraisers charities/services such as local hospices would close.

Hayleyh34 Tue 06-Aug-13 11:43:31

Oh and also, it's a common mistake to think that smaller charities are more efficient with donations than larger ones. The size of the charity has nothing to do with efficiency or value for money

Caster8 Tue 06-Aug-13 13:52:18

Have a look at them I say.
Find out.

ifyourehoppyandyouknowit Tue 06-Aug-13 14:01:12

Surely you give money to a charity because you believe in and support the work it does? Well those ground results don't happen unless you've got some kind of admin support, marketing, finance admin etc in the background. You donate money to a charity to support them in their work and to further their cause. If you wanted every single penny you gave to go straight to the person they were helping, then you should give it to that person...

I work in the third sector and am paid pretty much peanuts. Not a stealth boast but I have the qualifications and experience to earn more elsewhere. I stay because I love my organisation, and I believe in the work we do. In terms of audits and transparency; we are audited every year, registered with the charities commission (with all the transparency that requires) and are accountable to our trustees. That seems like a fairly good, accountable system to me.

SunshineBossaNova Tue 06-Aug-13 14:21:11

^^ What Hop and some others have said.

I worked in charity fundraising for over a decade. As a manager I was paid over £30k. However, my small team (3 of us) were responsible for raising over £5m p.a. and helping other fundraising teams.

We couldn't have raised that money (which, incidentally, went to the cause) without support from finance, admin, PR, training, leadership etc etc etc. All of which had to be paid for.

My department was audited by 'standard' financial auditors plus HMRC.

SunshineBossaNova Tue 06-Aug-13 14:24:56

I should add that the charity sector is unlike others I've worked in, in many respects. One is that charities will help each other.

I've got lots of knowledge in a particular type of fundraising and was well-known in the industry. I've given free advice and support to other charities to help them raise more funds in this area, particularly smaller charities that can't afford to have paid-for training etc. This is not untypical - you'll often find paid charity staff volunteer for their own and other charities. Charity bods often help each other because we recognise that charities generally do good.

ifyourehoppyandyouknowit Tue 06-Aug-13 14:31:28

Not to mention that since there is no profit to go to share holders, money that doesn't go towards running costs/staff/materials and housekeeping, goes towards 'the cause', there is no skimming off of profits.

Saying that people who work for charity should be paid less, is essentially saying that their work has less value. That is very very sad.

bruffin Tue 06-Aug-13 15:10:37

Also to what Hopaling says, other than a pension there are no bonus schemes, health insurance share schemes or any other monetary perks working for a charity.
You get a salary and pension is it.

Caster8 Tue 06-Aug-13 15:14:00

But HopALongOn. Some people, myself included, have and do volunteer for charities for many years.
So do I think that paid workers should get the going rate? Not necesarily, now you have mentioned it.

Had a look at a local charity I was talking about. Its head honcho appeared to get between £60k to £80k. Plenty I would have thought. And since many others appear to get over £100k, I will still support it. I tried looking at another local one, but they have not been going for that long.

Caster8 Tue 06-Aug-13 15:14:46

Perhaps it is the volunteers that are the mugs?

ifyourehoppyandyouknowit Tue 06-Aug-13 15:35:48

My workplace has paid staff and also volunteers. Many staff members also volunteer for other third sector orgs. If you think that the service can be provided just as adequately with no paid staff, and just the support of volunteers, then I would urge you to give it a go yourself.

Volunteers are a very very valuable resource, but for many reasons, they just aren't as reliable as staff, they lack the level of dedication that comes with relying on an organisation to pay your bills rather than just doing it our of the goodness of your own heart.

With cuts left right and centre to local authority services and support that the government deems not important, the third sector is picking up a lot of slack and doing a shit load more work for a lot less money. So yes, I do think that people deserve decent pay for doing a potentially stressful, difficult, responsible job.

Caster8 Tue 06-Aug-13 15:40:23

Of course it needs admin and paid employees. But I had assumed that the paid employees were also always mindful that they were working for a charity, and bore that in mind, salary wise. Appears not.

ifyourehoppyandyouknowit Tue 06-Aug-13 15:46:46

I am very mindful that I work for a charity. Mindful that if people stop giving money, I'll be out of a job.

How do you know that the highly paid staff members are not putting in dozens of extra hours each month, or not claiming all the expenses they should, or even donating their own money back. Most execs of charities that I know do so much in their own free time; fundraising, networking, profile raising, so much extra work. I think that's quite mindful. The pay reflects the difficulty of the job and the skills and experience needed. If you want an organisation to thrive, then you need the right people doing the right jobs.

Caster8 Tue 06-Aug-13 15:50:30

I do think charity workers should be paid below the going rate. Say 10%. Because they are a charity.

"The pay reflects the difficulty of the job and the skills and experience needed?. Would you like to expand on that?

ifyourehoppyandyouknowit Tue 06-Aug-13 15:58:19

But why ?

Charities already do pay less. Running an organisation on an incredibly limited budget while ensuring you are producing good outcomes and meeting targets set by your funders and your board, all the while trying to be innovative, keep up to date with relevent legislation, comply with the charities commission, make sure your public profile is positive, and then all the area specific stuff depending on where you work. Not unlike running a major business but for much much much less money and no chance of a bonus. And you get paid less because? Sorry, but the number of people who are willing to take lower pay out of the goodness of their own heart because it is for charity is not that high. You are excluding a chunk of the population who just can't afford to take a job that pays less out of some moral obligation to work for free. Charities need enthusiastic, committed people to succeed as an organisation. You're asking a lot to then pay them less.

The above comment refers to any high level exec job. If the job is the same as in a big business (and arguably it's probably harder because of less funds and the constraints of working within the charity's set of morals and ethos) then why do people deserve less money? Am I 10% less valuable working for a charity? Should I work for 10% of my hours for free?

Caster8 Tue 06-Aug-13 16:03:10

I think you are confusing being paid less salary with being worth less as a person?

The two are not connected in the slightest.

And I am pretty sure that if charity salaries were 10% less than the going rate [not say including cleaners and the very lowest paid staff], that there will still be more than enough aplicants for jobs.Good quality ones too.

ifyourehoppyandyouknowit Tue 06-Aug-13 16:08:45

No, you are saying that my work is of less value because of the organisation I work for. If I did essentially the same work elsewhere, it would be worth more money. That's just a strange thing. The work I do, by the very nature of it being a charity, is morally of more value. I'm not making money for anyone. I'm helping people, trying to make people's lives better and happier. But it's worth less in terms of money because we don't place any value on that. If my employer pays me less they are saying that the work I do is not as valuable. Can you see how that is odd?

There are very few highly paid people in this sector. That 10% is a drop in the ocean.

Caster8 Tue 06-Aug-13 16:16:57

See, I knew you were not getting it.
No, I am not saying that your work is less value. Of course it is not.

And no, I dont think that a person who works for a charity, that the work is morally of more value. By that reckoning, are volunteers saints , or mugs?

And you think 10% is a drop in the ocean hmm
Try saying that to all the people that pay donations. Oh, you already have to some.

Caster8 - if you pay less for the work, then you're automatically valuing it less. I do bookkeeping and accounts for a small charity. They pay me £x for that. So my work is valued at £x. What you're saying that I should be doing that work for £x-10%. Which makes my work worth £X-10%, which is a lesser value than £x.

As it happens my £x rate for the charity is a lot less than my rates for other businesses, and I give a lot of extra time because I believe in the work of the charity, but that is my choice (as I invoice them rather than them employing me) and the trustees are incredibly grateful that I'm saving them a hell of a lot of money. But that's besides the point.

Oblomov Tue 06-Aug-13 16:23:11

Caster,
who are you suggesting gets paid 10% less? The top directors? The accounts staff?
Are you serious? Why would anyone who was very good at their job, then work for a charity?

Caster8 Tue 06-Aug-13 16:25:18

They would work for a charity partly out of the goodness of their heart Oblomov - like the thousand of volunteers up and down the land.

ifyourehoppyandyouknowit Tue 06-Aug-13 16:25:31

But you are! At a base level, the value of work is defined in monetary terms. Ethically, there's a lot of muddy water over what is of more value, and how you measure it.

10% of one execs pay is not going to make a significant difference to the performance of the charity. It's just not. But it might make a significant difference to that person's performance in their role, and that in turn can make a massive difference to the charity. You pay peanuts, you get monkeys as the old saying goes.

We have very twisted views of what people's jobs are worth. Look at the number of carers on minimum wage, you can earn more in Tesco, who's entire purpose is to make money for shareholders. It's wrong.

charity bookkeeping and accounts is a pretty specialised area, and as with anything specialised, it costs more. That's why a finance director in a big charity will be on a reasonable salary. Because it reflects the value of their work to the charity and the cause. And good ones aren't thick on the ground, so there needs to be some attractions to the job.

Caster8 Tue 06-Aug-13 16:28:19

IShallWearMidnight. By that reckoning, the volunteers work is worth zero.

TabithaStephens Tue 06-Aug-13 16:32:17

Charities are a massive scam IMO. The amount of massive salaries, lavish junkets and profligacy there is obscene. Very little of the donated money actually gets to the people in need.

ifyourehoppyandyouknowit Tue 06-Aug-13 16:35:03

I really want to go work for one of these charities with massive salaries, lavish junkets and great expenses. We had our heating on for restricted hours this winter because the bills eat into the money we have to go to service users.

the charity I work with is run entirely by volunteers - the next board meeting will be filled with writing, proof reading and designing the next magazine, and getting quotes from printers to see where more costs can be cut. I'll suggest they should be planning lavish junkets instead shall I?

TheAccidentalExhibitionist Tue 06-Aug-13 16:47:28

TabithaStephens which charities specifically? Name one?
That massive sweeping statement makes me think you don't really know what you are talking about.

HatieKokpins Tue 06-Aug-13 16:48:58

I also want to work for one one of these junket-driven charities. As it is, I work for a national charity that helps 4 million people a year, which will raise to five million soon. We have no government funding, and are reliant on the funds raised from the public to pay our salaries, as the funds we get from our corporate and public sector donors only pay for specific projects.

I could triple my salary working in the private sector, so I've already taken my pay-cut, thanks.

The public are donating less and less money to charities, big and small, every year, and are expected - as part of the coalitions "Big Society" initiative - to do more and more of the State's work with every month that passes.

And yet, people resent charities having to pay salaries. Charity workers donate to charities too, AND we're also tax payers. What people are suggesting here will end up with only the people who can afford to work for free filling up what can be vital roles in society. That's not a society I want to be a part of.

Yes, some charity execs get a high salary, our CEO works a minimum of 70 hours a week, over seven days, and is always, always promoting our cause. She's a marvel. Do I resent the fact that she's "highly paid" in the charity sector? Not for a moment, because her salary doesn't even come close to representing the amount of effort she puts in.

We couldn't run without volunteers, however, and we treat them extremely well. If the entire organisation was run by volunteers, however, we wouldn't run at all. And then what would happen to those four million people who rely on our services? I dread to think.

Caster8 - work done by volunteers doesn't have a monetary value (although it should be accounted for somewhere in the annual report), so isn't comparable to work done by paid employees.

Also what a lot of people seem to be forgetting (or don't know) is that the vast majority of charity Trustees (who are ultimately responsible for the charity) aren't paid, they're volunteers, just like the tin rattlers and envelope stuffers. It's the layer in the middle who are doing the day to day running of the charity who are getting paid.

TheAccidentalExhibitionist Tue 06-Aug-13 16:59:21

I agree IShallWearMidnight as chairperson of a medium sized charity I can confirm none of the trustees including me receive any money for the work we do. We are volunteers only, restricted by our articles of association.
However, there are a small minority of charities out there not doing good work, I do come across them occasionally. IMHO their mistakes are to do with naivety and lack of experience rather than anything else more sinister. To tar all of us as scams as TabithsStephens has is insulting and ridiculous.

Caster8 Tue 06-Aug-13 17:03:39

If volunteers work for just expenses, and charity Trustees dont get paid either, I really think that lots of the people in the middle should get paid 10% less that the going rate.

If I still was a volunteer for 2 major national children's charities, I would be looking up the pay of those who are paid employees. Why shouldnt I?
Volunteers "work" too. It should be comparable.

Oblomov Tue 06-Aug-13 17:06:26

"By that reckoning, the volunteers work is worth zero."

Nope. I don't see the connection.

Accounting for charities and the not-for-profit sector is a specialist area. But, the base principals are very much the same, as for auditing any other company.

Whatdoiknowanyway Tue 06-Aug-13 17:11:11

I am the CEO of a charity. I earn less than £100,000 but still a reasonable salary albeit roughly half of what the same job would get in the private sector.

My predecessor earned less than me and would probably meet all the requirements of those of you who do not want to see high salaries paid to charity execs. In my first year I have saved my charity substantially more than the difference in our salaries by cutting waste, improving income and just generally introducing proper business practices. My predecessor was unable to do this and there were many poor practices in place when I arrived. Running a charity, like any business, takes skill and experience. If you're to willing to pay for those it can end up costing far far more in other ways.

Oblomov Tue 06-Aug-13 17:12:07

I disagree with Caster.
People who work for charities, have a job. It is still a job. They need to live and pay their mortgage, like anyone else.
10% is quite a lot. People who work for charities earning say 30k, would lose £250 per month. That's is a lot.

Caster8 Tue 06-Aug-13 17:12:43

HopALong has been saying things like "If my employer pays me less they are saying that the work I do is not as valuable"

Hence me saying "By that reckoning, the volunteers work is worth zero".

Caster8 Tue 06-Aug-13 17:17:39

Am beginning to think that people who are paid employees of a charity, think that their volunteers who do it for expenses only, are mugs. Because the same mentality does not go upwards much, does it?

Dont think I have got much more to say on the matter.

Whatdoiknowanyway Tue 06-Aug-13 17:17:40

'If you're not willing' not 'If you're to willing '

Oblomov Tue 06-Aug-13 17:20:34

eh? hmm

bruffin Tue 06-Aug-13 17:55:18

Am beginning to think that people who are paid employees of a charity, think that their volunteers who do it for expenses only, are mugs

Where on earth do you get that from, you do seem to have a very strange mentality.

If you can afford to give your time to charity do it, that doesnt make you a mug, however some of us do have to work for a living. There is no way i could have donated 20 hours a week to the charity i worked for. I need the money to survive and also needed the time to spend bringing up my children. I was given the job because i had the experience they required in the accounts department. I can tell you that i was often working at 4am to get deadlines finished.
Now if you have the relative experience and and happy to donate 20 hours or 35 hours a week to work for a charity then its up to you, you are not a mug if you can afford to do that, but very few people are in the fortunate position to commit all their spare time to something like that.

Wow, just wow. Charities are like any other business. They require co ordination, strategic planning, good PR & marketing etc etc . The cost & time spent on these will be proportionate to the size of the business, just like in the profit sector.

Do you all think that the staff looking after your children at preschool should be paid less if that preschool is a charity, rather than a private one?

Should Oxfam endeavour to find a CEO who will work for say, £25k? They would be incredibly unlikely to have the right skills to run such a large business successfully. If they made poor choices they'd be lambasted for this & would ultimately lose charitable funds.

There is no scandal in paying a good member of staff, who applied openly for the job, a fair salary. People often have the wrong view of the role of charities IMO.

Incidentally charities are fully audited. Most larger ones (income over £50-£100k) are also companies and responsible to companies House & Charity Commission. Double accountability. There are over 100,000 registered charities, not to mention the many thousands of unregistered. The Charity Commission directs their resources to where they can make the biggest impact, be it financial or in terms of protecting the integrity of charity as a whole.

In my experience, those who feel disgruntled with charities &/or the charity commission have failed to have usually unrealistic expectations met.

(Not that I used to work in a senior role in the charity Commissionfor many years or anything. It has now been decimated by cuts, so awhile knows what they do now.

Caster8 Tue 06-Aug-13 18:33:42

If charities are like ordinary businesses then they need to pay the same taxes and dont have any need for volunteers.

?

Except that they perform charitable objectives unlike entirely self serving businesses. What an odd comment.

Caster8 Tue 06-Aug-13 18:45:47

babies, have you read the thread? Instead of the op and last comment?

HatieKokpins Tue 06-Aug-13 18:48:45

Wish people wouldn't troll the charity threads.

SunshineBossaNova Tue 06-Aug-13 18:54:18

Charities do pay the same taxes as other businesses Caster. Except, unlike other businesses, they can't claim back VAT.

Lollydaydream Tue 06-Aug-13 18:54:52

Businesses pay taxes on profits, charities don't make profits. Charities pay NI, Business rates.
If volunteers don't like the way a Charity is run then don't volunteer for doit.

Minifingers Tue 06-Aug-13 18:58:53

Look - the last 15 years of ridiculous executive pay rises fuelled by City bonuses in all industries have spread across to the charitable and public sector.

The head of the nearest Academy school earns 250K a year. There are over 1000 head teachers in the UK earning more than 100K a year.

The argument is - that's what talent costs these days, and that charities and the public sector need to compete with private firms for the very best people.

I personally think the public sector and the charitable sector should take a principled stand on this one and stop paying these sorts of salaries.

Caster8 Tue 06-Aug-13 19:05:45

Sunshine. Do they? Then how do they get beter rates on the high street?
[not a troll btw, do an advance search on me].

Lolly. I would indeed think twice or three times I am afraid now. As I now realise that there is no way most paid employees would do it. No siree.

Caster8 Tue 06-Aug-13 19:07:15

Volunteers may as well get paid.
Particularly as HopALong said for example that even if paid salaries were dropped by 10%, that would be a drop in the ocean.

SunshineBossaNova Tue 06-Aug-13 19:12:00

I can't answer for charity shops and uniform business rates, Caster. But they are not taxes.

HopeClearwater Tue 06-Aug-13 19:44:09

The scandal is that charities now provide some services which were previously provided by central government.

NetworkGuy Tue 06-Aug-13 19:59:12

There are clearly a mix of charities. Some could be acting fraudulently, some seem to be a licence to print money. Obviously those who are working for charities will see the positive side of what they are doing, but there have been some (unrelated to salary of CEO) real scandals (as highlighted on a BBC Radio 4 report within the last month).

Clearly a number of people here have worked or do work (or as accountants, audit accounts) for charities, but none can surely dismiss all criticisms, as there are bound to be some bad apples in among the 100,000 (someone else's figure) charities.

SunshineBossaNova Tue 06-Aug-13 20:04:22

Hope they've been doing it for years. It's a way for government to save money (by paying peanuts for services / getting the money topped up by charities which isn't meant to happen) and keeping the services at arms length.

Network you're right about the mix of charities and the fact there are good and bad. I've worked for four charities in my career. I'll only ever support one of them again, financially or otherwise.

ifyourehoppyandyouknowit Tue 06-Aug-13 20:28:21

Oh FFS. Volunteers do fantastic work, I never said anything against them. But they do it in their free time, if they don't finish a bit of work or they can't go in for whatever reason or they get bored, then they can just walk away. Quite a lot of them to their paid jobs.

When you consider the outcomes(in terms of prevention ans associated costs) some charities are saving the UK millions and millions of b pounds. Helping millions of people. Most of us are doing it because we care, and we enjoy seeing the positive outcomes and feeling likey we've made a difference. There is a huge amount of responsibility in being in charge not least because you are holding the future of a charitable organisation in your hands but also because of all the people below you relying on you keeping the place afloat so we can pay our rents. Why shouldn't that get recognition?

The third sector already pays fuck all. If you took away 10% of my salary, it would not help the organisation at all, financially its nothing. It would dincentive me to do good work, in fact I would probably not be able to affordto conticontinue working there.
I honestly think you don't have a clue what kind of environment charities are trying to survive in at the minute.

My figure, the 100,000 plus. Of course there are good and bad. Many, many charity commission staff are reluctant todo ate any more, mainly those who worked in the Investigation Division.

There are too many charities. Many are vanity projects, where instead of setting up a new charity, they should've supported an existing one. The Charity Commission actively encourage & assist with mergers.

Many are hobby horses (think animal sanctuaries where the founder(s) conveniently live on site, the animals can't be left alone see? Nice big house, maintenance required. Fight the CC every step of the way to excuse or allow unnecessary work on the property.

Many are rife with nepotism & jobs for the boys. There are not enough staff at the CC to deal with all these problems. Nor have successive Charities Acts given the CC the teeth to deal with the effectively.

Religious charities often suffer hugely from infighting & cultural misu errata dings over what is acceptable u dee heartily law.

The list goes on & on.

What I would say is that such scandals very, very rarely rock large nationally recognised charities or the smaller ones with a well structured, committed, paid full time team on board.

Caster8 you sound just lovely. I maintain that you are wrong. (I choose to ignore your derogatory comment about my last post). You seem to be saying that paid staff should effectively 'donate' 10% of their salary to the charity. I fail to understand why. Have you considered that being a paid member of staff & being a volunteer are not mutually exclusive?

Caster8 Tue 06-Aug-13 21:03:26

Looked up a charity somewhat at random.
Barnardos. Last years salaries paid were 128 million. 10% is £12.8 million. I wouldnt call that a drop in the ocean. HopALong might.
Nobody has to agree with me btw.
Seems like though that no one actually working in the charity sector agrees that charity workers should get less than the going rate.

ifyourehoppyandyouknowit Tue 06-Aug-13 21:12:07

10% of an 18k a year job could mean the difference between being able to balance life and having a rewarding job, and not being able to afford to work.

Should all charities be staffed entirely by volunteers? Can you not see that people are actually doing a job?

Barbados is a massive charity, most aret not that big. The services they provide are often vital, often life saving. If we do not pay people a decent wage to do these jobs, we are goit to end up in the shit.

You said earlier on that it should only be the top people who get a pay cut. Say you've got 10 people on £100 000, 10% of that is noy £12 million. That few million is going to all the mid and low cost level staff. So where do you want the cuts to be made?

SunshineBossaNova Tue 06-Aug-13 21:15:14

Caster, charity workers are, in the main, getting much less than the going rate for their job equivalents in the private sector. I could have got twice as much elsewhere, but stayed because I believed in what I was doing.

EeTraceyluv Tue 06-Aug-13 21:15:56

I'm a Charity CEO and I get just above the national average. We'll not all highly paid - I had to fight for a one per cent pay rise for me and my three p/t staff/.

Caster8 Tue 06-Aug-13 21:16:11

See my previous posts including the 16.03pm one.

Ilovemyself Tue 06-Aug-13 21:17:55

Mini fingers. I am sure that making a stand against those wanting £100k is all very noble, but it simply means they don't get the best that is available.

It's all about the value for money that the person gives

I do think that there are some jealous people out there. Because they can't command £100k plus no one should.

EeTraceyluv Tue 06-Aug-13 21:20:56

But they do it in their free time, if they don't finish a bit of work or they can't go in for whatever reason or they get bored, then they can just walk away. Quite a lot of them to their paid jobs. In which case the charity for whom they are volunteering are quite frankly not very good. Volunteers nowadays are not fluffy people who 'pop in' when they feel like it - volunteer using orgs are trained in retaining and recruiting volunteers (or they should be) and the whole volunteering process is a lot more professional and efficient.

Sorry Caster8 could you link to your information. I've looked at the 2012 accounts & can't find this figure.

Thanks.

ifyourehoppyandyouknowit Tue 06-Aug-13 21:22:23

If I earnt any less money (or wasn't fortunate enough to have a DH who earns well) my income would have to be topped up with tax credits and other benefits. Can you not see that for a lot of charities, promoting fair working practices and paying a living wage is part of their ethos and sometimes governing rules? Would be bit ironic to havet a charity trying to promote the welfare of children and families that then didn't pay enough for people to live on.

eetracyluv some are so e aren't. Recruitment, training g & retention require organisation & funding. Volunteer coordinators are paid as it is a tricky & time consuming role.

Also, ultimately they can walk away as it is not what puts food on the table.

ifyourehoppyandyouknowit Tue 06-Aug-13 21:26:33

Right, but you have to pay someone to recruit, train and support good volunteers. And that costs money. It's a challenging job and that ia reflected in the pay!
Honestly we have had issues with retaining volunteers (not my area) and it is entirely due to not having the right person doing the job. If you want someone in the role you have to pay decent money. Still less than in the the private sector, but enough to make it a desirable and workable role. They then end up saving the organisation money by improvement in the quality and consistency of the volunteers.

Hopalong of course you're right.

This whole argument is based on an outdated notion of the amateur status of charities. The majority of people don't grasp the vital & vibrant role played by the third sector as a whole.

EeTraceyluv Tue 06-Aug-13 21:29:47

All true, I accept that - you should come on our courses grin v cheap and we've had great results wink Of course, on a serious note, I am in a position to know very well the problems org have with volunteers but the profile of them does need to change.

Talkinpeace Tue 06-Aug-13 21:30:21

The issue is actually that "headhunters" and "remuneration committees" and "recruitment consultancies" all get paid a cut of the salaries they recommend
or are on each others committees
so they have a vested interest in telling each other that they are "global talent"
its all crap

the bods in the city are no better than any of the till wrekers - just better connected

NOBODY needs more than £100k to live on
and if more charities had principles about salary multiples the "executive pay" gravy train (across the board) could be stopped.

Marlinspike Tue 06-Aug-13 21:34:40

I work for a charity (SEN school), and yes, we are paid public funds to educate children for whom there is no other suitable provision. I'm paid reasonably well, although I could earn more in the private sector. I don't really see why I should give up 10% of my salary Caster8 - if we did this across the board, including teaching roles, we would not be able to attract the high calibre staff that enable us to do what we do so very well. Our staff are subject to the same employment taxes as elsewhere, and yes, we do benefit from no corporation tax, but we cannot reclaim our VAT.

Oh, and I also volunteer for another charity in my spare time (cub leader), and I don't feel undervalued in that role as I am not paid.

ifyourehoppyandyouknowit Tue 06-Aug-13 21:35:26

Sadly its not a lack of knowledge about how fantastic modern volunteers and volunteering programmes are, it's more a HR issue. Sigh. Is not my role though. I'm running a 10k and potentially a half marathon in my own time for my work, if that's not earning the 10% I don't know what else to do!

Catmint Tue 06-Aug-13 21:45:06

Charities are audited 'just like' companies, because they ARE companies, limited by guarantee.

They have to comply with SORP accountancy regs, and publish an annual report, including their accounts.

Enthusiastic amateurs are great, but not as CEOs IME.

Caster8 Tue 06-Aug-13 21:46:28

Actually cat mint, not all charities are companies.

Catmint Tue 06-Aug-13 21:54:30

No, they aren't all, I agree. But the big ones referred to in the OP almost certainly are. They would be ridiculously foolish not to be!

scrummummy Tue 06-Aug-13 21:55:24

I also hate the fact I read it but it stops me buying crap closer/ take a break/ hello etc .... its free on my phone/ tablet so I don't mind even though its craphmm hmm

Talkinpeace Tue 06-Aug-13 21:55:25

Most charities are NOT companies
and the audit requirements of teh SORP are not the same as the company ones - so there are double checks

astounding how ill informed many of the snipers are !

Marlinspike Tue 06-Aug-13 21:56:24

Looking at the Barnardos accounts (p32) - they employ 8401 staff, of which 3 earn > £100k? The number of staff and the range of activities indicate that they are a large and complex organisation, requiring sound and strong management - which comes at a cost! Noble idea, to stick someone earning £30K in there, but the chances are they would be ill-equipped for the role, and would jeopardise the whole operation - incidentally putting at risk all the accumulated funds and assets of the charity.

caster8 thank you. My phone doesn't want me to go beyond page 20. Checked on mac.

But your calculation is at best a blunt instrument. You said already that the lower paid shouldn't lose out. As by far the majority of staff are in the lowest, albeit wide, band, your idea would bring £100k-£150k at most. In terms off his cabrity's income, a drop in the ocean.

However, I agree, you could help some people with that. However, I still du dame tally disagree with the idea that simply by holding a paid position within a charity, you should be for ex to accept lower pay.

Martinspike I said that re risking funds a little earlier. Caster8 doesn't want to know.

Catmint Tue 06-Aug-13 22:03:24

I work for a large UK charity by the way. 1 in 4 people in the country use our services in their lifetime, and benefit from them. I am passionate about what my organisation does, very proud to do what I do.

The employees get paid a living wage. If we weren't, we would not be able to exchange our knowledge, skills and experience for our salaries at our organisation. We would have to find jobs in the private sector.

I would like to know why some people think that charity staff should martyr themselves to their cause and not expect to be renumerated for what they do?

This year I had a 1% pay rise, after a 3 year freeze. I am sorry if that offends anyone.

By the way, our amazing volunteers contribute approximately one hundred million pounds worth of value to society. But they don't come for free, they need training and managing.

Catmint Tue 06-Aug-13 22:05:46

All the charities in my national network of over 300 branches are required to be incorporated ( a company limited by guarantee).

Talkinpeace Tue 06-Aug-13 22:08:21

catmint
which is all well and good, but do the people at the top really need the six figure salaries?
could they not live perfectly comfortably on , say, seven times the basic salary of the employees, ie around £80,000 (still a massive amount of money in real terms)

the whole "they could earn more" aregument is just bollocks : because if they could they would, but most of them cant, and those with ethics should be happy on 7 times the salary of their staff

The company requirement is often to maintain uniformity & many probably weren't originally incorporated. Non company charities can Incorporate, effectively set up up a new charitable company with identical or almost identical objects, wind up the old one (or for very boring legal reasons keep it as a subsidiary) & transfer the assets to the new company.

People get their knickers in a twist about this as they see it as the trustees shirking their obligations & that as a result they will play fast & loose with charitable funds.

Charity status really is a hot potato for people to get on their high horse about. Usually people with very little involvement in charitable activity.

Catmint Tue 06-Aug-13 22:13:41

The CEO of my charity doesn't earn a six figure salary, as far as I know.

However, I would feel that if she did, she bloody earns it for the value she provides. Giving regular evidence to government select committees, chairing various committees looking at issues related to our charitable objectives, campaigning on the issues that we work on, leading an organisation with 96% public recognition, setting the strategy in hugely complex and changing regulatory environment....

I don't know talkinpeace I generally agree. But they are required to be available for endless media junkets at the drop of a hat, therefore they often need to live or stay in or very near London. This changes things. It can also be very disruptive to their family lives.

They carry the can for a lot & they are usually I short term/fixed contracts of 5 years. They often move on to another similar position, but not always. Their earning potential needs to be evened out.

Ilovemyself Tue 06-Aug-13 22:18:23

As I said earlier - jealousy from those that cannot earn anywhere near £100k is what seems to drive the sniping or " you don't need over £100k to live" comments.

How many of those complaining would have a different view if they could earn that sort of money.

Talkinpeace Tue 06-Aug-13 22:18:36

Their earning potential needs to be evened out
sorry but that is just utter marketing hype by the agencies and apologists for executive pay

its the same with FTSE100 directors
and top bods at local councils

if they are good they waltz into another job
if they are not then they should get the heave ho
just the same as any other employee

Catmint Tue 06-Aug-13 22:19:02

Does anyone really need a six figure salary? Does the CEO of A retail company need one, while the majority of employees earn minimum wage, and have to work the beginning and end of the day without pay? And line the share holders pockets?

No.

Society is the shareholder in good charities, because of the function that they perform.

I cannot understand why charities are under attack, when they are so accountable for every action and every penny.

Caster8 Tue 06-Aug-13 22:19:26

No idea where you 100k to 150k calculation comes from.
By my reckoning, even just taking the top 34 highest paid employees, and cutting their combined salaries by 10% would bring in over £250,000.

Talkinpeace Tue 06-Aug-13 22:20:31

Ilovemyself
DH and I are both on FTE incomes in that band
but we are self employed - no work no pay
those facing no risk should not get that sort of money unless they can prove their individual worth for that

NetworkGuy Tue 06-Aug-13 22:46:11

"why some people think that charity staff should martyr themselves to their cause"

Was that not just one person ?(I caught the drift of something about 10% reduction), and if was only to apply to a few at the top, on 80K+ think it might be a reasonable reduction, just as I agree with Talkinpeace on the 7x salary of lowest - it's hardly martyring, but might weed out some of the marketing and other people who may be on a cushy, less stressed, number but getting a private sector salary, and probably {through exposure of salaries many of us dream of} alienating many of the volunteers, and people who donate, when there are revelations about how much get's absorbed in administration and salaries. I suspect Barnardos is far from the 'norm' - the ones to look at are those with turnover below 5M where larger portions might be used in "admin".

Some of the 'campaigns' for funds are going into what I consider unethical territory, with expectations of people writing a will in favour of a charity, and "suggestions" as to monthly donations, not leaving it to the individual. Such things make people view charities (all charities, not just the worst offenders) with a lot of suspicion and could lead to a decline in funding. Sooner some charities wake up to this fact, the better things will be.

NetworkGuy Tue 06-Aug-13 22:50:11

"But they are required to be available for endless media junkets at the drop of a hat, therefore they often need to live or stay in or very near London."

Charities could be the first to do some major cost-cutting and move to the Midlands or North West, North East, etc. Lower cost housing, lower rents on business locations. The media can be reached easily these days, and London is highly priced... The MPs should be next !

NetworkGuy Tue 06-Aug-13 22:52:56

Catmint - if yours is the charity I think it is, wasn't there some concern that employees have very little or no pension provision ? (Sorry, bit off topic, but I remember something coming up about limited security/ benefits for staff, and it seemed so damned unfair, when I heard that on a radio report...)

Catmint Tue 06-Aug-13 22:54:04

I agree ( as a midlands based employee of a national charity) that many roles can be located more cheaply outside London.

Some roles have to be there, though.

Catmint Tue 06-Aug-13 22:56:38

Network, like many organisations, our pension provision had to change. But I am not aware of any particular problem specific to us at the moment.

I am intrigued which charity you think I work for! smile

Catmint Tue 06-Aug-13 22:59:23

Although, we are a large national network, made up of lots of independent charities, many of whom are battling to survive and pension liabilities are an issue for some.

NetworkGuy Tue 06-Aug-13 22:59:30

" is what seems to drive the sniping "

no, not jealousy, but concern that if someone is so committed then is the salary so important to them, or could some portion of it be better put towards the aims of the charity. It is partly one of seeing the top people paying themselves significantly more than the minions, yet it not being a private sector business in name, but looking that way when there is an attempt to justify major sums of money in salary as being "needed to get the best talent".

Bit like the BBC - in days gone by, there were people proud to work for the BBC even if the pay was carp, but it went the other way, until we recently had scandals over a 98m digital project that could have been pulled much sooner and saved money, or millions paid out as golden handshakes when there was no justification or contractual reason for it, but big money had become part of the "culture" of the BBC. Seems it is likely a similar "culture" exists at some levels in the top 20,000 charities...

NetworkGuy Tue 06-Aug-13 23:02:16

To the person who wrote "My phone doesn't want me to go beyond page 20" - might be worth switching from a phone - not just because of that, but because the auto-correct gets in the way so much (had difficulty understanding bits of your post).

icepole Wed 07-Aug-13 06:43:54

Watch this TED talk:

www.ted.com/talks/dan_pallotta_the_way_we_think_about_charity_is_dead_wrong.html

We want people who run charities to be paid well, what if they were the most highly paid jobs we had? Imagine what that would do for a charity. Attract the top minds to doing such important work.

Lazyjaney Wed 07-Aug-13 06:49:22

Charitocrats.....perfect definition.

All you need to know is their salaries are going up as their organisations' performances are going down to know there is something wrong.

Cherriesarelovely Wed 07-Aug-13 07:16:57

Nothing wrong or surprising to me that people running charities are getting high salaries. I was bit surprised at how much, admittedly, and if they are nor doing a great job that needs to be dealt with. In principle though of course charities with budgets of millions need the right people to run them. Youcan't run an enormous charity on volunteers alone!

Marlinspike Wed 07-Aug-13 10:33:33

How are you judging that "their organisations' performances are going down" Lazyjaney?

Jinsei Wed 07-Aug-13 14:01:00

Most charity employees earn a fraction of what they could earn in other organisations. I should know, my salary doubled overnight when I left the voluntary sector. I also gained a pension plan, to which I hadn't had access previously, and I work far fewer hours now than I did previously because we never had enough staff at the charity to do what was required. Also, when I was working for a charity, I often spent my own money on work-related stuff, now I just claim expenses.

Some of the top execs probably are overpaid, but the sane could be said of top people in both the public and the private sectors. At the end of the day, charities pay whatever it costs to get the right people in post. Suggesting a 10% cut to their wages is silly, as most of them have probably made financial compromises already.

EeTraceyluv Wed 07-Aug-13 14:42:35

The charity I manage s an income of under £100,000 a year. We work with over 2000 people year and deal with over 300 other charities. there are 4 of us, p/t. If we were to close, Mr Cameron would be exceptionally upset, but our funding wen down 19 this year. I have suddenly become exceptionally good at fundraising applications - which is not what I went into the job for. Tbh, I would snap up a Charity CEO post for £50-60K if there were any outside London!

HatieKokpins Wed 07-Aug-13 14:52:23

I'll cut my salary by 10% if the state cuts living expenses for all charity workers by 10%.

The fact that I - along with most of the people who work for charities - have already taken a 50-75% pay cut by choosing to work for a charity in the first place seems to pass a lot of people by. I could earn three times what I do right now, simply by doing my job in the private sector, so asking me to earn even less is something I can't countenance.

Talkinpeace Wed 07-Aug-13 15:09:37

I could earn three times what I do right now, simply by doing my job in the private sector
I love it when people say that.
It is 99.9% of the time utter bilge
for a start there are not enough well paid jobs in the private sector to absorb all those people
and particularly for public sector employees, their skills are FAR less coveted than they think.

private sector salaries started freezing several years before public and third - like in about 2006

HatieKokpins Wed 07-Aug-13 15:18:21

"It is 99.9% of the time utter bilge
for a start there are not enough well paid jobs in the private sector to absorb all those people
and particularly for public sector employees, their skills are FAR less coveted than they think."

I'm an accountant. Fully qualified with twenty years of experience in both the private and public sector. So yes, I could quite easily triple my salary without much hassle whatsoever.

HatieKokpins Wed 07-Aug-13 15:20:07

People seem to think that the only people who work for charities are relatively unskilled, or are simply incapable of working in the private sector. It's very far from true, in my experience. Now, the civil service, on the other hand, well ...

Talkinpeace Wed 07-Aug-13 15:26:34

Hatie
that is why I said 99.9% (we never say accurate, we say true and fair after all )

bruffin Wed 07-Aug-13 15:31:06

or are simply incapable of working in the private sector

exactly HatieKopins

I worked in the Insurance industry for 15 years prior to working for a charity. I was made redundant in 2007 after 11yrs because of the recession hitting charities and moved into the Motor trade. I dont think you could get two more different industries if you triedgrin. They all require the same basic accounting skills

Talkinpeace Wed 07-Aug-13 15:33:26

OK, so us CCAB are part of the 0.1% - I quite like that!!
THen again, many CIPFAs 'lack transferrable skills' wink

LessMissAbs Wed 07-Aug-13 15:42:20

The OP said its almost a scam and actually I think she is right.

Charities benefit from extremely favourable tax regimes and accountability, in that their directors are not subject to the restrictions imposed by the legal duty of fiduciary duties on directors of companies. The report also discusses wage increases for CEs way in excess of the rate of inflation or RPI yet corresponding to decreased revenue. And charities are well known for underpaying more junior staff, simply because "they are charities". The Charities Commission is often wilfully toothless and the charities sector in the UK is running out of control.

How many of these CEs have actually proved themselves in running a successful medium sized business, as opposed to being rewarded by a relatively poor performance and then moving on?

No wonder the UK economy is in such a poor state.

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Wed 07-Aug-13 15:47:20

As a funder I'd give this advice: view donations to charity as an investment in society rather than a gift and on that basis do your homework- pull the accounts and read them. Look at the overheads and the fundraising costs ( that's the real scandal IMO). Read the annual report. Compare their work with other charities in the sector and decide which one to support. All that info is there for you. If you don't like how much the chief exec is getting paid, don't donate to them. It's that simple.

My dsis works for a charitable foundation - she works hard supporting the work of the charity and I don't see why she shouldn't earn a decent wage for that.

I saw that lazeyjaney had come back to the thread, and I wondered if she was going to acknowledge that she had been wrong to say it was "bullshit" that charities are audited, and that the auditors who have posted on here saying that they audit charities' accounts might have shown her she was mistaken. How foolish of me.

Talkinpeace Wed 07-Aug-13 16:05:09

LesMiss
in that their directors are not subject to the restrictions imposed by the legal duty of fiduciary duties on directors of companies
directors : charities that are not companies do not have directors, they have trustees who have exactly that duty
charities that are companies are subject to exactly the same legal safeguards as any other company

I have been both a charity trustee and am an independent examiner (like auditor for small charities)

extremely favourable tax regimes
Yeah right. Partial Exemption is just wonderful hmm

HatieKokpins Wed 07-Aug-13 16:08:04

Ach, CIPFAs. CIMA all the way for me.

Marlinspike Wed 07-Aug-13 16:23:26

I'm CIMA! (waves at Hatie) gringrin

Talkinpeace Wed 07-Aug-13 16:34:37

I did ACCA .... ruled out CIPFA as no tax and (when I did it) CIMA as no audit smile

HatieKokpins Wed 07-Aug-13 16:42:14

I started doing ACCA, but it was ALL auditing, and I knew I didn't want to work in practice, hence CIMA. After years of helping multinationals ruin the planet, it was time to give back, ergo charity work.

It really grinds my gears when people think I'm only doing it because I'm too shit to work anywhere else, when in fact, the only reason I'm good at it is because I spent years learning how businesses work, and can help charities make the most of their finances.

Not all charities are shit, and not all charity workers are incompetent. Charities are not out to defraud donors- well, most of them aren't, anyway. But you should always check that any charity you donate to is an actual charity, if you're worried, as some are just organisations with charitable aims. A world of difference.

Talkinpeace Wed 07-Aug-13 16:46:13

Same reason I only do
- small businesses
- charities
- small local authority bodies
and a fair bit of pro bono work

Oblomov Wed 07-Aug-13 17:21:42

TalkinPeace :
"Most charities are NOT companies
and the audit requirements of teh SORP are not the same as the company ones - so there are double checks

astounding how ill informed many of the snipers are !"

What do you mean?

I said: "Accounting for charities and the not-for-profit sector is a specialist area. But, the base principals are very much the same, as for auditing any other company."

I still maintain that. As a junior, I have participated in many audits, of many companies, and a few charities. And the basic principals are universal.

Talkinpeace Wed 07-Aug-13 17:24:31

Oblomov participated in Once you get your letters and oversee it from start to finish you will realise the significant difference, linked to the segregation of responsibilities between trustees and employees.

But actually you were NOT one of the twonks to whom I was referring grin

Oblomov Wed 07-Aug-13 17:29:53

I did. From start to finish. I preped the accounts. I was the senior in the audit, with an audit manager above me. I saw it right through to the end. Preping things, for the Partner to meet client.

Oblomov Wed 07-Aug-13 17:30:45

Once you get your letters? hmm

Talkinpeace Wed 07-Aug-13 18:24:37

Once you get your letters? the lovely ones that go after your name and come with a pay rise and the freedom to go self employed later grin

Oblomov Wed 07-Aug-13 18:31:28

Yes. The ones I never got. The finals I never passed.

ShellyBoobs Wed 07-Aug-13 18:47:58

Oh dear, Crumbled

Your DH has "probably seen a little more of life" than another poster and "has seen bigger charities at work in disaster zones".

But yet he's only just found out that top executives in charities are on over £100k. shock

If he gets much sharper he'll cut himself. grin

Oh and YABVU.

lesMiss I assure you, the Charity Commission (not charities commission) is never, ever, wilfully toothless.

Jinsei Wed 07-Aug-13 19:47:30

for a start there are not enough well paid jobs in the private sector to absorb all those people, and particularly for public sector employees, their skills are FAR less coveted than they think

Maybe you're right. But I moved from public sector to charity to private sector, and found it very easy to get a job - the first one I applied for actually. Starting salary was more than double what I had been on previously, and the hugely improved benefits package was an added bonus. I know plenty of people who have made the same sort of transition, and they're all better off as a result.

I worked much harder in the voluntary sector, doing long hours with few resources. My working environment now is infinitely better, but I miss the ethos of the charity that I worked for, and I loved doing a job that I really cared about. One day, when I can afford it, I will go back to the voluntary sector. For the time being, I have a mortgage to pay. wink

Crumbledwalnuts Wed 07-Aug-13 20:05:25

Shelleyboobs: why? He's always been more interested in the work they do. He wants to support the work they do. Perhaps he is someone who always looks for the best and wants to believe the best - he's certainly not as cynical as me, and has never been interested in the financial set up of charities. But when he saw some charities failing in the field, he stopped his donations there as well.

I'm sure, in fact I know, that there are many mumsnetters who've seen UN "relief" work and peacekeeping work. A lot of UN work is a job creation scheme for ex-public sector workers, ministers and journalists, who find excuses to employ ex-colleagues in non-jobs.

Crumbledwalnuts Wed 07-Aug-13 20:06:50

ministers I mean civil service

SunshineBossaNova Wed 07-Aug-13 20:26:23

or are simply incapable of working in the private sector

Utter cock. As with all sectors, some people are great, some are average and some are shit. And people move from the charity sector and vice versa all the time.

Crumbled no-one is saying that all charities are fantastic, especially some of us who've worked in the sector. I would never, ever give a penny to the UN though.

Crumbledwalnuts Wed 07-Aug-13 20:53:17

Yes - I think bill Gates' billion was a massive waste of money

Catmint Wed 07-Aug-13 21:18:29

This thread has some really offensive comments on it, which I take personally. Some people seem to think that I and my charity employee colleagues are virtually thieves, out to defraud the public.

Hiding this thread now.

Talkinpeace Wed 07-Aug-13 21:24:35

sunshine
the UN would not take your money : they only take money from government subscribers
or do you mean Unicef or Unesco

catmint
put away the thin skin and rationalise

SunshineBossaNova Wed 07-Aug-13 22:05:11

I agree catmint. It's really annoying to hear charities so vilified - as with any other organisation which are run by people, there are the good, the bad and the ugly.

You're right Talkin I meant Unicef. I briefly worked for a development charity and didn't like what I heard about them.

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Wed 07-Aug-13 23:46:35

The charity sector is just like the private sector. There are some very good people, some average people and some bad people. There are empire builders and trail blazers, nodding dogs and game changers. In my opinion, transparency is pretty good amongst charities of any size in the Uk and as I said above, donors need to do their homework. Re effectiveness, not all initiatives will work and that's fine. The important thing is that the charity self-evaluates so that they know this is the case. Re accounting law as it concerns charities, I don't think there are significant differences to for-profit entities.

Mimishimi Thu 08-Aug-13 02:10:40

The man I mentioned earlier who was the husband of a friend of my parents ran a business into the ground. Noone would hire him for a similar role at that level. He then tried his hand at consulting and doing public speech work (he was a very 'oxbridge' type). That didn't work out. So then he founded some charity 'dedicated' to saving wildlife (despite showing no interest in that prior but since he lived in the mountains, thought it would seem authentic), paid himself an $80,000 Australian annual salary as CEO of the charity (this was a good fifteen years ago) and successfully managed to recruit poor, well meaning mugs as his volunteer telesales people. He had them working long shifts for some nominal amount. He'd always talk someone else into it if they quit. He even tried to recruit my mum but, funnily enough, she declined. Every time my parents bumped into him, he would bignote himself, sigh sadly that he could be making far more in the private sector but that it was such a worthy cause. He was what we call in Australia .. a knob. His wife was lovely and long-suffering though (and by far the more intelligent of the two).

Lazyjaney Thu 08-Aug-13 07:18:22

How are you judging that "their organisations' performances are going down" Lazyjaney

Reducing income, staff being sacked, charities going out of business, increasing customer complaints, reducing donor numbers, increasing lack of trust, major criticism of activities in location eg Haiti, reducing % of money getting to end target, top dogs paying themselves more, increasing gaps between average and top salaries....that's performance going down in my book.

The number of Charities has jumped from a few tens of thousands in the 1960s to over 150,000 today, but the growth in number of disasters, and causes needing sorting etc over the same period has been nothing like that. The only thing with similar growth is in the number of MBAs moving in to run them. It's an industry now, like any other, it is now glutted with capacity and we are seeing the same things happening as in every other industry in the same state.

I saw that lazeyjaney had come back to the thread, and I wondered if she was going to acknowledge that she had been wrong to say it was "bullshit" that charities are audited

No, I said it was bullshit that they were audited like companies. I note that in June 2012 the Hodgson report called for more transparency in their reporting. A bunch of in-industry people on here saying everything is rosy points to a problem, not a solution IMO.

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Thu 08-Aug-13 07:30:53

Lazy I do agree that the sector is very bloated - unlike the private sector, where there is possibly too much consolidation, in the charity sector, there is not enough, and this results in a lot of duplication/ inefficiency. There is also a lot of "band aid" work, whereby the symptoms are alleviated but the problem doesnt get solved, so in 10 years time, the charity is alleviating the symptoms of the next generation of people with the same problem.

However, personally I see the professionalisation of the top management level as a potential solution to these issues, because these people tend to bring business principles. In my experience, CEO's who are "cause" people and came up through the ranks are much more resistant to merging with other similar organisations that people who come from the outside and can view things more dispassionately.

Also, remember that in the 1960s a lot of "charities" just weren't registered, so you can't really compare like with like plus the church did a lot more.

Fourwillies Thu 08-Aug-13 08:22:23

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief do you mind me asking what you do? You always seem to talk a lot of financial sense.

SunshineBossaNova Thu 08-Aug-13 11:08:51

Lazy who said everything was rosy? I pointed out that charities are audited, but I'm not naive enough to say that charities are perfect. You must have missed my point above where I said that, of the four charities I've worked for, I would only ever donate to one of them because of what I saw and experienced when I was there.

I'm all for transparency. Some charities (including some huge names) are, frankly, very opaque about what they do. And some charities are utter bollocks, with poor management practices, poorly thought out charitable activities and who treat their staff abominably (a bit of a theme IME). And there are way, way too many charities - this country does not need 180k+.

Thanks Richman for a considered post. I agree about professionalising charity management.

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Thu 08-Aug-13 12:45:34

Four That's very kind - I'm a chartered accountant by training, but now I work as a grant officer for a charitable foundation (i.e. we have money and we use it to make grants to charities). Our grants are what you would call restricted grants, so charities have to make a proposal for a specific project and have to quantify the expected benefits of that project to us. Assuming it meets our basic criteria, we then decide if it's a good use of our funds/ an efficient way of solving the problem, and if so, we'll make them a grant. It's a very interesting job, but difficult because there are no perfect solutions to most social/ education/health problems and actually, money isn't always really the best way to solve the issue. I just have to try to decide if the impact justifies the expense.

Fourwillies Thu 08-Aug-13 13:45:45

Ahhh very interesting! I'm a trustee of a well known charity! I may have sucked up to you in the past! grin

Crumbledwalnuts Thu 08-Aug-13 17:35:24

Even the C Comm chairman says it threatens to bring the field into disrepute. I think this is rather a "charities = good whatever" knee jerk reaction here. More news today about bonuses.

Talkinpeace Thu 08-Aug-13 19:05:52

Even the C Comm chairman
yeah, the guy on £50 k for 2 days a week : like he'd know how the real world works

Crumbledwalnuts Thu 08-Aug-13 19:18:24

but they need to pay the kind of salaries that will attract the right kind of people

don't they?

Talkinpeace Thu 08-Aug-13 19:22:47

greedy bastards you mean?

funny that the same rule does not apply right through the organisation ....
as if money was needed to attract the "right sort of people" then nobody would volunteer

sorry but the 7 X rule should apply to ALL businesses and charities and organisations
it creates a fairer society while still rewarding skills

Crumbledwalnuts Thu 08-Aug-13 19:40:17

oh I was just echoing what people on the thead have said, but but I don't really agree with them

I totally agree with you

there's a letter in the telegraph today suggesting controls similar to the one you mention for charities, and more too

Talkinpeace Thu 08-Aug-13 19:45:03

I totally agree with professionalism and sensible rewards : I charge a decent rate for my time after all
BUT
there has been much too much reward for failure among the clique at the top
look up the biogs of the people who messed up the Dome : all have been handed even jammier posts since ....

Crumbledwalnuts Thu 08-Aug-13 20:34:43

Same with the Olympics - some of them had to be given payoffs because they weren't on fixed term contracts. One got a severance pay off and walked straight in to another fat job with Olympic Legacy.

Fourwillies Thu 08-Aug-13 20:48:03

crumbledwalnuts I'm sure, in fact I know, that there are many mumsnetters who've seen UN "relief" work and peacekeeping work. A lot of UN work is a job creation scheme for ex-public sector workers, ministers and journalists, who find excuses to employ ex-colleagues in non-jobs.

The UN isn't a charity. FFS.

Crumbledwalnuts Thu 08-Aug-13 21:14:11

FFS I know that ffs.

It's all part of the same merrygoround ffs.

Crumbledwalnuts Thu 08-Aug-13 21:15:37

That former special adviser to Tony Blair getting a bonus of 20K from Save the Chidren? FFS.

Fourwillies Thu 08-Aug-13 21:27:44

What? The greedy bastard merrygoround? And so what if a special advisor gets paid by a charity? I'm struggling to see your point, probably because you don't have one.

Crumbledwalnuts Thu 08-Aug-13 21:36:36

Yy ffs the charity-senior public sector-government adviser-Eurocrat-quangocrat-Ford Foundation-Gates foundation-any foundation-ex-journo ex-BBC-nice fat jobs for my friends merrygoround.

You may not have heard of it.

Fourwillies Thu 08-Aug-13 21:58:22

I think, on reflection, you and your husband/partner are superbly well matched. grin

Crumbledwalnuts Thu 08-Aug-13 22:05:52

Do you fourwillies? On reflection ? Or did you just run out of non-personal things to say?

Listen don't worry too much about that merrygoround. Complacency is a wonderful thing. Best not to trouble it over-much.

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Fri 09-Aug-13 02:43:04

Crumbled I agree that the merrygoround exists, although I dont agree that all charities are involved in it. It largely concerns internationally focused NGOs that are linked in to the UN/ national government network. In this area, government relationships are paramount so unsurprisingly you get a lot of cross-pollination grin

My personal view is that donors have a very important role to play in keeping charities honest- many individual donors just hand over cash with little or no thought to impact, efficiency etc, so is it any wonder that the charity sector has its problems? If my boss paid me and never asked to see any of my work, I'd probably be a bit less diligent than I am.

On that note, here are my thoughts on how to maximise bang for buck for individual donors

Avoid DR - Yes, the news story of the disaster zone is compelling and you sleep that bit better for sending #20 to the TV appeal BUT Disaster recovery is always going to be an inefficient use of funds because you get a huge amount of "heart money"/ unrestricted cash pouring into a country at a time of huge logistical disruption, when local grassroots organisations are totally overwhelmed and there is an influx of international organisations/volunteers who mean well but are not necessarily au fait with the locality. It's not conducive to well thought out initiatives, impactful projects and efficient spending. There is always a lot of waste due to supplies not getting where they are supposed to be, "diversion" of money etc. Some of this is essentially criminal (ie. people taking advantage of the chaos to nick stuff) but most is just sheer inefficiency/ poor communications/lack of infrastucture etc. If you want to donate, wait. The most impactful projects happen once the situation has been stabilised.

Don't be put off by UK charities that are partly government funded. There's a lot of confusion around this issue. Many UK charities working in the social services field (e.g providing advocacy to people with learning disabilities) are contracted by the local authorities to provide that service to their residents. This is called "commissioning of services". The contracts are tendered and the grants are strictly monitored and restricted (charities have to provide detailed budgets on how they intend to provide the service, commit to certain performance metrics etc.). The government doesn't just dish out cash to charities and ask for nothing in return. Therefore, charities that are receiving government grants on an ongoing basis would have to meet reasonable levels of good governance and grant execution ability.

Go Direct: The more organisations in a funding chain, the less money gets to the final beneficiary. My advice to individual donors is "don't fund funders" i.e. direct your donations to charities that actually carry out the work because then you get better transparency and control over your donation. You need to do a little homework around this - Some charities (even large ones) run all their own projects. Some charities, especially UK charities that work primarily overseas, execute largely through local partners (i.e. they are program funders rather than program operators). Sometimes there is a good reason for this (local regulations etc.) but as a donor, my advice is that if you want to fund a specific country, find a good local NGO and back them directly.

That said, Go Local: The foundation I work for only funds "operating charities" and we fund all projects locally (ie. if we fund within a country, we have a grants officer there). I think this is important because we have eyes on the ground, we can do much better due diligence and we understand the cultural context. Obviously, most individual donors dont have this luxury, so (controversially) I would advise them to donate in their home country. There is a huge amount of need in the UK and some great projects being done at local level, and also by national charities. You, as a donor, understand the context, whereas with other countries what appears a great cause/need may actually not be- e.g. In China, huge amounts of money were poured into building very basic schools in rural areas (as an aside, many of these were built by volunteers and were not great quality). A few years later the government knocked them all down, consolidated school districts and built new ones. Moreover, the root problem in China re rural education was never the lack of buildings- it was (and still is) a lack of maintenance, lack of books and lack of skilled teachers, plus the draw of paid employment which means kids drop out. You need to understand the issue to know if an initiative is going to solve it.

Anyway, this is long, but I just wanted to get across the point that the charity sector has its issues for sure, but that doesnt mean to say that the whole sector is one big gravy train of scumbags. There are a lot of people doing some very good work, and they may not always be the people that come across as "carey-sharey". As I said upthread, treat donations as an investment and not a gift. Donors have a role to play in keeping charities honest. No-one has to support a specific charity. make sure the ones you support deserve it.

Crumbledwalnuts Fri 09-Aug-13 06:04:14

"Crumbled I agree that the merrygoround exists, although I dont agree that all charities are involved in it. It largely concerns internationally focused NGOs that are linked in to the UN/ national government network. In this area, government relationships are paramount so unsurprisingly you get a lot of cross-pollination"

Cross-pollination is a fancy word for nepotism and jobs for my mates. In any other field it would be deplored as such - but this conversation involves charities and public/third sector, and is taking place on mumsnet, so a nice name is offered up instead. It is the equivalent of the third sector old boy network and you know it.

I don't know if you're trying to reduce the apparent number by talking about "largely concerning internationaly focussed NGOs" but that is an awful lot of large, popular, household name British charities.

Just looking down the lists it's interesting how Islamic relief comes in refreshingly low.

Crumbledwalnuts Fri 09-Aug-13 06:08:56

"My personal view is that donors have a very important role to play in keeping charities honest- many individual donors just hand over cash with little or no thought to impact, efficiency etc, so is it any wonder that the charity sector has its problems? If my boss paid me and never asked to see any of my work, I'd probably be a bit less diligent than I am."

I really hope this isn't a little dig at my husband for focussing more on how the money is spent in the field rather than the financial set up. Perhaps you haven't read those posts. But really? We can't rely on charity executives to be honest and work properly despite their 100K plu salaries? Really? People like my husband are to blame for Justin Forsyth's 20K bonus?

You must, I assume, welcome in that case the Telegraph exposure of these generous payments. It is, after all, how to keep charities honest if they really, really can't begin to do it themselves.

Crumbledwalnuts Fri 09-Aug-13 06:17:30

"I just wanted to get across the point that the charity sector has its issues for sure, but that doesnt mean to say that the whole sector is one big gravy train of scumbags. There are a lot of people doing some very good work, and they may not always be the people that come across as "carey-sharey"."

Yes, there are people doing amazing work, and very often these people are NOT on the pass-the-parcel-jobs-perks-salaries gravy train. Very often they're lower down the feeding chain, their commitment taken advantage of by people who haven't made any sacrifices at all to work in the third sector, but have acquired what you call a carey-sharey image while retaining the nice package and the nice pension and paying the school fees. Very often, they're the volunteers.

Does that mean the gravy train doesn't exist, or that no undeserving people are on it, or that the details shouldn't be exposed in the Telegraph and by MPs? Of course it doesn't.

Good on the Telegraph, I say.

Anyway I read the rest of your post about how to get bang for your donated buck and that seems like good advice. Very good of you to take the time to type it all out as well.

Crumbledwalnuts Fri 09-Aug-13 06:27:26

I still can't believe your dig at donors "just handing over cash". Seriously when you've got Save the Children, Concern, Action Aid, NSPCC, RSPCA, big, big household names, are you expecting everyone who donates to go through the annual accounts involving detailed spend and financial set up?

There are big names that we should be able to trust, perhaps with a look at the website. There are charities with government funding. And with all this expertise, all these senior people on all these great salaries, and all this supposed oversight, the donor giving £20 a month is to blame for people over-feeding at the teat of other people's money?

I notice on your advice section the one thing you don't say is, go through the accounts, look at the remunerations. Shouldn't you be advising that, if you're going to blame donors for misuse of money?

I also disagree a little bit with, go for the local NGO. In some countries you are talking about very poor local oversight, very poor indeed.

Crumbledwalnuts Fri 09-Aug-13 06:48:52

Nice guy.

Defend this, folks.

Crumbledwalnuts Fri 09-Aug-13 07:58:35

Look it's in the Independent now

And Unite is dreadfully unhappy about it too. Cripes that could confuse people. Particularly since the man who had his birthday party paid for by charity donors (see above link) points out that "the joint general secretaries of Unite earn a combined package of £308,000."

bruffin Fri 09-Aug-13 08:27:15

Craumblewalnuts that link to the party is frankly nonsense.
There is an old phrase, you have to spend a penny to make a penny.
That party cost £765 and was not just for his friends but for people involved in or connected to the charity in various ways. You have no idea from that article how much money that party may have bought in, but i bet it was a lot more than £765.

Crumbledwalnuts Fri 09-Aug-13 08:41:40

Not nonsense at all. You are defending it by saying he used his birthday party as PR and fundraising. That doesn't in any way make it nonsense. You have no idea how much money it bought (sic) in, it may have been zero. Do you have evidence? As quite a large number of guests were from other charities, the idea of raising money from offering birthday cake to other well-paid charity executives seems rather up itself, to say the least. Or even "frankly" up itself.

Anyway it's nice you have no issue with anything else I've posted.

But thing is crumbled you have become so axe grindy now that its getting hard to take anything you say seriously.

Crumbledwalnuts Fri 09-Aug-13 09:23:33

Realy? Even though you cant argue with any of it? It just - annoys you?

Perhaps it annoys you because there's so much truth in it.

Crumbledwalnuts Fri 09-Aug-13 09:24:26

How ridiculous. Can't argue with what you say but can't take you seriously. Compelling, truly compelling.

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