You Decide: Pounding charity

How much of every pound or dollar donated should charities be able to allocate to administration?

 

How does the pound you donate get spent by charities?
How does the pound you donate get spent by charities?

Charity is a big business yet when we give, few ask the key question of “What percentage of what I donate goes to the cause and what percentage is spent on administration?”

 

At The Steeple Times, we’ve long called for better regulation of charity in Britain and now we ask you, our readers, to tell us what you think. Please share your views below.

 

 

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20 COMMENTS

  1. I think charities should be more transparent in sharing such information. Detailed reports are all very well but what we need instead is a simple percentage graph on the home page of each charity’s website. If a charity is a high spender on admin, I’d then give elsewhere.

  2. Charity is a choice, not an obligation. That’s part of the problem. In America, people give more willingly than Britain but though there are many great causes doing such good work, too many spend so much on administration. That charity CEOs go around in chauffeur driven cars, for example, is scandalous when they could take a bus. If you work in charity, you should do it because you want to help. If you want a life of luxury and to be loathed, become a banker. I think that any charity that allocates more than 49% on administration should be shut down.

  3. I believe charity should begin in the heart. Those charities that spend more than £0.30 of my £1 donation do not deserve to exist. I give to fund research and help those in needs. I do not give to fund salaries.

  4. Too often this ‘debate’ is an excuse for people to wheel out and reinforce the reasons, prejudices and hearsays as to why they Choose not to give. There are always examples of charity chief execs in chauffeur driven limos (yet oddly, no concrete examples of where this happens). ‘Charity’ is no more than set of laws and tax regulations that support good works in the public interest: it is a broad church. Unfortunately too many expect all charities to be tin-rattling do-gooder OAPs outside the supermarket on a saturday morning. That is an important part of it. But if I ever find myself or one of my loved ones with Cancer, Motor Neurone Disease, or wind up homeless, being assaulted, in penury then I’ll be damn glad the people looking out for me, researching cures and fighting my corner will be professional – and, shock-horror, maybe even getting paid to do it as well.

    And of course – the main question: what exactly are ‘administration costs’? Never has there been bandied around such a meaningless phrase. Which part of administering a busy charity do people disagree with? Paying volunteer expenses? How about insurance so they can keep operating safely? Maybe charities should just stop paying the electricity bills on their premises? Don’t be naive, if you don’t want to give, spare us all the self-aggrandising tosh about ‘bad’ or ‘wasteful’ charities.

  5. I wholeheartedly agree with transparency for charities. I I read somewhere that the pop stars who arrange live music festivals for ‘charity’ make enormous personal wealth for themselves. Ditto for supposedly pop star led Eco save-the-planet types or charity. The chief executive’s salary should be itemised separately within the overall administration costs and the costs themselves shown as a percentage of donations. Hope this debate reaches the lawmakers.

  6. I helped setup a charity 7 years ago to raise funds for orphans in Tanzania. All my co-trustees agreed to work for free and pay our own way on trips to TZ. We are thankfully all reasonably well off. We do help volunteers with expenses and more. Our admin costs ranges between 3-5%.
    Fully agree with transparency and understand that large charities may have higher admin. charges for good reason.
    Sadly I do hear of excesses and crazy salaries and the like and I do wonder.
    Never on my patch!
    My wife and I donate to other charities on a regular basis butt guess I never check out their financials – just hope they are kind and not popuated by some greedy folk.

  7. EXCELLENT INITIATIVE FROM STEEPLE TIMES!!
    No only important the amount of money going to admin but also secondary and tertiary parties benefiting from the donations specially terrorist linked organisations.

  8. I couldn’t possibly say how much of every pound every charity ought to spend on administration and overhead; it depends what they are doing with it. Are they spending money to monitor and evaluate what they’re doing, and so learning how to do it better? Are they paying decent wages so they get really good and skilled people to work for the charity, again helping make it more effective? Are they putting funds into researching the best ways to tackle whatever problem they’re addressing? There are all sorts of activities charities can undertake that are not specifically programmatic but can lead to it being a more effective charity. It goes without saying that funds can be squandered, but without knowing exactly where the funds are going it’s impossible to say whether or not the administrative costs are appropriate. In many ways I’d be hesitant to give to a charity that had almost no administrative costs. Transparency is key.

  9. I am a trustee to a couple of charities and act as adviser to another few , all on volunteering and pro bono basis, even if it involves substantial legal work which as a lawyer myself could expect separate compensation for
    In those charities I am involved with, everyone else ,trustee or board member is on volunteering basis too
    The salaries and expenses of administrative staff and external contractors should always be carefully vetted and monitored and there are many well governed charities that apply the principle

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