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BU over charity director salaries

(237 Posts)
Happydoingitjusttheonce Wed 22-Nov-17 08:15:36

Is the criticism shortsighted? CEO of NSPCC criticised for earning £167k. At its peak a few years ago the charity was turning over £150m. Anyone with the skill and experience to manage that level of income could be remunerated in the private extremely handsomely and much more so than Peter Wanless is. Do people really think the charity could get someone in for buttons, or for nothing, to do that job?

Witsender Wed 22-Nov-17 08:16:47

Nope, sounds fair to me

stopfuckingshoutingatme Wed 22-Nov-17 08:19:35


I feel the same about public sector . Why would someone work well for thousands less than they could earn in the private sector ? You Esbt talent you pay for it

What is interesting is that the accountability levels can be laxer that private sector . So a poorperformer gets sacked maybe faster in the business sector ?

Happydoingitjusttheonce Wed 22-Nov-17 08:26:06

Agree Stop.

I wonder do people just not think it through when they protest about the salaries. Charity misuse of donations is a different matter of course.

LemonShark Wed 22-Nov-17 08:33:30

I agree with you. Sometimes you have to pay a high salary to attract someone of a certain calibre with particular skills and experience. If you insist on a small salary you'll miss out on loads of great candidates who may be altruistic in some ways but unwilling to downgrade their outgoings/have less money for their family. So I don't have an issue with charity CEOs earning well if they're effective at their jobs.

Do people who whinge about this really think a massive organisation like the NSPCC is gonna find someone amazing to run it on a £40k salary when that amazing person could get triple elsewhere?

ItsNiceItsDifferentItsUnusual Wed 22-Nov-17 08:37:16

I think it’s completely fair. My dh has always worked in the charity sector (not CEO I might add!). Many of them are huge businesses run extremely professionally with global reach. Not any old person can steer a ship like that. Not to mention people are donating in good faith, to help make the world a better place, and that money deserves to be invested correctly.

Palegreenstars Wed 22-Nov-17 08:37:27

They have to attract the right talent and are unlikely to do this without competitive salaries. The CEO will oversee both the fundraising and the actual delivery of the service which can be a huge remit. As crazy as it might sound to some the CEOs of charities have often taken pay cuts to join from the private sector.

That's not to say there isn't a discussion to be had on the amount of administration each charity does and perhaps we might be better served if some more merged.

Dan Pallotta does an interesting TED talk on charity salaries

IsaSchmisa Wed 22-Nov-17 08:38:38

It often is yes. If the job is a 167k job, nobody is going to benefit from a charity being forced to pick from a smaller pool, which they inevitably will be if they're paying less than comparable private sector roles. It rather sounds like the NSPCC are having to do that already, though presumably the 'name' and clout of the brand will also attract people for whom 167k is much less than they could get elsewhere.

People don't necessarily like to hear, though, that what a lot of charities need is a dispassionate professional who maybe isn't particularly emotionally attached to the cause. Having worked a lot in the charity sector, including for some that were not well run and did not follow this principle, I have seen first hand this principle in action.

Now the idea that 167k is too much per se is one I can understand. However that's not something that is really within the control of any particular charity, and unilateral action isn't going to work.

sinceyouask Wed 22-Nov-17 08:40:39

I think there's an inherent unfairness in some people earning very big salaries whilst a lot of people struggle on very small incomes, and it is not made any more palatable by talk of needing to pay enormous amounts to attract talent.

Happydoingitjusttheonce Wed 22-Nov-17 08:42:30

Thanks all, you’ve articulated the logic far better than I could. And I’ll check out that TED talk Pale, thanks for the reference.

IsaSchmisa Wed 22-Nov-17 08:42:53

I think that's true sinceyouask. But nor does it change the reality that as well as that sentiment being unfair, it's also correct.

EB123 Wed 22-Nov-17 08:43:49

I agree with you, they should receive a wage in line with their job role.

I am more bothered about the money spent on chuggers by charities.

IsaSchmisa Wed 22-Nov-17 08:53:51

Chuggers are a difficult one. I've never worked for a charity that uses them, but everything I've heard suggests they work in terms of donation increases. However that has to be weighed up against the issue and ethics of pressuring people etc. So I think it's ok to object to them but the argument would be on non-financial grounds.

RB68 Wed 22-Nov-17 08:58:53

the thing is you pay peanuts and get monkeys - same applies in the charity sector. You want them well run, sustainable (financially viable) and fraud free and the ceo answereable you need to pay them. Oftent hey are running services on a commercial basis so need that experience too.

I always found that the general public are always suprised when people working for a charity are paid at all - bloody ridiculous, then they want them to work longer - it is a charity after all, not claim expenses and get no payrises, and manage a team on thin air. Totally unrealistic all round. But then "it is a charity". And as for demands for any sort of training - completely unrealistic - for gods sake its a charity.

There are lots of lovely volunteers who assist marvelously but they still only do the bits they LIKE doing not necessarily what NEEDS doing.

It got my goat when I worked for a v large charity (bigger than NSPCC) and don't even get me on fragmented individual charities wasting money or the VAT rules or flippin infighting within sectors as to who was providing what or that overall most of them are making up for gaps in Govt provision. GAH

Happydoingitjusttheonce Wed 22-Nov-17 09:01:57

Agree RB68. Volunteers are the life blood of charities as they are in areas like junior sports clubs but ultimately charities need strategic management and that doesn’t come for free.

LostMyMojoSomewhere Wed 22-Nov-17 09:01:58

YANBU. The frustration comes when charities appear to be badly run and employ pricey CEO's looking at you Macmillan when it becomes the worst of all worlds.

stopfuckingshoutingatme Wed 22-Nov-17 09:05:10

Anyway CEO salaries normally run into the millions
Look at any annual report
I think the largest I saw was $8mill

saltandvinegarcrisps1 Wed 22-Nov-17 09:17:51

I'm torn on this one. Used to work for a well known cancer charity. CEO was ex city banker and took a massive pay cut and was earning "only" 150k with the charity. My beef was that he wanted us all to work for free - caring for the dying was a privilege and people should do it for altruistic reasons - he actually said in a meeting (talking about volunteers) "these wonderful people give their time and effort for nothing to help those less fortunate than themselves - they don't want paying!" - as if us paid professionals were money grabbers. Plus the charity had millions in off shore accounts and people were often put on gardening leave / sacked without due process. My job got changed beyond all recognition so I had to leave and I would never work for a big charity again. I know they need to make money but they're too corporate/ruthless for my liking now .

LemonShark Wed 22-Nov-17 09:28:54


But it's true. Respondents to this thread haven't gone into a thread by a single parent struggling to keep the heating on to give their thoughts on why it's acceptable for CEOs of charities to be paid a decent salary, they've replied to a thread specifically asking for opinions on that very subject. Yes it's awful so many people live in poverty, I've been there myself. Yes, charities need to pay a decent salary to attract the right person to do a very difficult job. Those two things are not mutually exclusive. Pay peanuts, get monkeys, charity is mismanaged and collapses (kids company anyone?) and both workers and service users suffer and may be plunged into financial difficulties without their salary/job or the support they're getting from said charity. That doesn't help anyone.

LemonShark Wed 22-Nov-17 09:31:10

PS the purpose of the thread isn't to make it palatable that there is huge wage inequality. It is unfair that people who work really hard aren't always paid a living wage. Unfortunately there is no inherent 'fairness' governing how much people are paid. It's not fair, nobody ever claimed that all areas of life would be fair. Doesn't mean you shouldn't fight even harder to try get closer to some kind of sea change where people are rewarded for their hard work.

Ttbb Wed 22-Nov-17 09:37:03

I don't think that the charities a wrong for paying a reasonable salary. However I do think that if you work for a charity and can afford to do so without pay (or with a reduced pay which is essentially what this is) then you should do so.

mirime Wed 22-Nov-17 09:51:16

It's not just about skills, it's about responsibility as well. Nobody who had any idea of what they were letting themselves in for would want to take on the responsibility of a turnover of £150 million for £40,000 a year.

@saltandvinegarcrisps1 Most of that sounds bad, but

Plus the charity had millions in off shore accounts

Having reasonable reserves is not a bad thing in itself, although what is reasonable is up for debate.

KungFuEric Wed 22-Nov-17 09:57:23

I think charities have been asked to fulfill tasks that governments should be responsible for doing, and in the process they are being managed as corporate profit making businesses rather than always doing the tasks that need to be achieved.

Rich people are still getting richer, in the name of the poorest.

Branleuse Wed 22-Nov-17 09:59:14

its why big charities are nothing more than big money making businesses and I will not give them anything.

Smaller local charities are where its at and are usually far more useful for practical help and support.

LemonShark Wed 22-Nov-17 10:04:35

Branleuse: or just doing voluntary work yourself! I feel I can make a much bigger impact giving my time and skills for several hours per week than I could giving a fiver to a charity every month. There's so much that needs doing. It's a shame lots of people only see the way to supporting a charity being giving huge ones money.

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