Tuesday, 22 November 2022

The Charity Game

David Craig has a timely TCW piece on charities and the suckers they exploit so professionally. Including children of course - nobody is off-limits.

Don’t let charities fool you into being a ‘sucker’

AS Christmas approaches, it’s the ‘giving’ time of year when we are bombarded with TV ads for some of Britain’s more than 200,000 registered charities. Many ask you to text a word such as ‘care’, ‘heart’ or ‘child’ to give just £2 or £3 or £5 a month.

We’re told that this small sum can provide lifesaving medicine for a child or provide food for a week. Some charities will be satisfied with your donation, but in many cases this £2 or £3 or £5 a month will hardly pay for the charity’s expensively produced TV ad. The real aim of the texted donations is not to raise money but to harvest donors’ phone numbers to add to the charities’ ‘suckers list’. These phone numbers will be passed on to a telephone fundraising agency who will call the texter.

Not unfamiliar to those who pay attention to these things, but as Christmas approaches it is worth reminding ourselves about the charity game.

Some telefundraisers may work for the charity they claim to represent. But often they will work for profit-making telefundraising companies. Charities pay between £80 to £120 to the telefundraising companies for each direct debit recruited. So, depending on how much you agree to give through your direct debit, little to none of your first year’s donations will get anywhere near the charity.

Setting up a telefundraising company can be quite a profitable business. One which was set up by two former in-house charity fundraisers made gross profits of £10.1million on a turnover of £26.2million and paid its founders £2.5million in dividends over seven years in addition to their generous salaries.


Sam Vega said...

Living in the rectory, we are automatically on the "suckers list". It's a good job we have a recycling bin at the church as well, as otherwise at this time of year I couldn't fit all the letters in our own bin.

And they are sophisticated, too. The pictures and rhetorical gut-wrenching questions on the envelopes are so poignant that I sometimes wonder whether I ought to open them.

The Jannie said...

They are some of the many reasons I shout abuse at the TV!

dearieme said...

One of my great great grandfathers was a generous early sponsor of Dr Barnardo's. My father still took pride in it. My wife collected for them. When we had offspring we celebrated by taking out Deeds of Covenant (remember them?) to make annual gifts to charities of our choice.

And now we don't give a penny piece to any national charity. Strictly local now, and even then not very generous. Our pockets have been abused too much in the past. The people who manage charities nowadays are just the opposite of the salt of the earth. My last hope was the Sal-Dals but I'm told they're not sound any more.

We once sat at a pavement cafe in Oxford; a group of managers of Oxfam arrived and took the next table. Their conversation had two themes (i) the younger chaps sucking up to the big boss, and (ii) all of them mocking the volunteers who run the shops. It was a sickening bloody display. May they rot in hell.

DiscoveredJoys said...

I've mentioned Cliodynamics before. The idea that the Elite end up producing too many Elite children for the Elite jobs available, and that after a period of chaos a new slimmer Elite emerges.

Now look at the big charities... many have become politicised by the children of the old Elite struggling to create a new Elite-worthy job. So instead of famine relief (for instance) they focus on gaining donations to fund their salaries and advocate that governments do more to relieve famine.

Many charities have become sources of Elite careers, not charity. Just as QUANGOs have become sources of Elite careers, not administration. Come to think of it I suspect most MPs are in politics for the sake of their careers rather than public service.

Peter MacFarlane said...

Everything you all say is true, but I still give fairly generously to the Salvation Army.

They do genuinely good work among the homeless and hopeless, and their staff earn very modest salaries - no fat cats there.

If you don't mind the God-bothering, they seem to be about the last genuine charity in existence, apart as you say from small local outfits preferably run by people you know.

Anonymous said...

Leading a boring life in retirement, one evening, I counted up how much I would have to donate each week if I responded to the appeals for fresh water for African villages; Provide food for starving rebels in Yemen; Save the tigers, and the Pandas, and the Polar bears, and the lesser spotted Manchurian earwigs (OK, I made the last one up, but you get my drift). £57 a week would have to be taken from my state pension, and this would not be the end of it. There would always be more pleas, on other nights, to separate me from my meagre income. Being undecided, I visited my local supermarket which was advertising 25% off the price of 6 bottles of wine. The total cost, after the discount, was £49 which allowed me to buy some nice cheese and biscuits, and still be £1.37 in credit. I do hope those Yemeni rebels didn't go hungry.
Each year, I choose 3 charities, all local and staffed by non salaried volunteers, to support, and will continue to do so.

Tammly said...

I used to subscribe to Dr Barnardo's until I learnt that they had known all about the 'Asian grooming scandal' for years before the story broke and they had been asking people like me to pay them more money to deal with it! Their duplicity is staggering. I cancelled my monthly donation forthwith.

A K Haart said...

Sam - I like dropping them in the bin unopened. Opening them would spoil it.

Jannie - and a genuinely smart TV would take note of the shouting and switch to something worth watching.

dearieme - I recently read an article about the decline of Dr Barnardo's. I'll try to find it. Interesting story about the Oxfam lot - I'm not surprised.

DJ - I agree and senior QUANGO roles in particular seem to exist solely for the socially well-connected. These people come and go, but nobody lower down seems to know where they came from and how they acquired the new role. A tap on the shoulder probably.

Peter - that's my impression of the Salvation Army from one or two family connections in the past. I hope it continues.

Penseivat - we only donate to local charities too, mostly items they can sell in their shops, but not always. Appeals for saving tigers etc look like borderline scams to me.

A K Haart said...

Tammly - I didn't realise they knew about the 'Asian grooming scandal'. Strewth!

Twisted Root said...

My theory is that the large majority of direct debit'ers to charities are the self-same occupiers of comfortable well paid NGO and civil service positions who suffer from impostor syndrome. Rather than self-sabotaging they alleviate their guilt by donating and thereby create the ever inflating fake charity economy which has become so detached from its ostensible purpose.

A K Haart said...

TR - that's a good point, they do seem to suffer from impostor syndrome. As if they don't really feel comfortable being comfortably situated.