Charity Matters Oct/Nov 2015 ISSUE 63. Thank you for your continued support, you can find more articles on

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Those wishing to help out our struggling Treasury, along with some charities, should rush out on October 5th and buy up lots of the single use carrier bags that large shops and supermarkets have to by then charge 5 pence for, rather than giving them away.

Despite the monies raised going to environmental causes HMRC have refused to waive the VAT and hope to rake in £19 million a year from the estimated 190 million bags we are expected to buy in the next year to donate. Dream on, we'd say.

It will be interesting to see if this one will work out, both for the charities and our Treasury. Lots of people who don't like the idea of being forced to make charitable donations have been buying the "bags for life" shopping bags, and some have been reported hoarding free bags for money-saving use after October 5.

It is also interesting to note that strong, plain, plastic, vest-style bags are available from numerous UK suppliers for around 1 pence each in quantities of 2,000, or £20, including delivery, with half that price for much larger quantities. This saves the charitably inclined 4 pence per bag over the cost of the enforced supermarket purchase to donate to their choice of charity, 5 pence if gift-aided, and nothing into the clutches of the poor old Treasury.

Come to that we wonder if any enterprising charities out there will now start supplying carrier bags with their logos on, perhaps in packs of 50 for £1.99 and sold through charity shops, undercutting the government's offerings, making a profit, doing shoppers a favour, promoting the charity and getting shoppers into charity shops where they might just buy something else?


There is to be a clampdown on charities that sell or swap lists of their donors to be canvassed by others, particularly if they have not had clear permission from their donors to sell their names on.

The move comes as concern grows that vulnerable people are being aggressively targeted in this way. One 87 year-old with dementia had his name passed on to nearly 200 organisations, some of which were scam operators who conned him out of £35,000. (Daily Mail) List sharing by charities is another way that names can get into the wrong hands.

These aspects are making people think twice about giving money to charity in ways that mean their names and personal details are recorded, such as by post, or on websites that can be hacked into.

Charities can rent mailing lists of donors for one-time use for as little as £50/1,000 or 5 pence per name, with an average market price being £150/1,000 or 15 pence per name. Discounts are available for multiple use and outright purchase is often available.


An independent review of the RSPCA's prosecution work has concluded that its successful 2012 test case prosecution of David Cameron's Heythrop hunt for illegally hunting foxes, which resulted in fines of £6,800 for the hunt and two of its members, was appropriately brought and not politically motivated.

Since the legal censure pro-hunting MPs and other blood-sport enthusiasts have claimed political motives for it, and put forward their view that one way the government could avoid such embarrassments in future would be to take away the power of the RSPCA to prosecute hunts, a move which could enable the Heythrop and all other hunts to flout the law.

The review was commissioned by the RSPCA in December 2013, a year after the Heythrop prosecution, to a former chief inspector of the Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate, Stephen Wooler, who has made 33 recommendations on the charity's investigation and prosecution activities.


An expose by PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) of the cruelty involved in killing young crocodiles and alligators for their skins has persuaded British model and designer Jane Birkin to ask design group Hermes to change the name of its crocodile-skin Birkin handbag.

The bag was launched by Hermes in 1984 and named after the Sixties singer for giving the company the original idea for its practical design in 1981 and since then has become a big hit with the rich and fashion-conscious such as Victoria Beckham, Jennifer Lopez, Kate Moss, Julia Roberts and others who have paid up to £100,000 and beyond for their ostentatious symbols of wealth, generating hundreds of millions for Hermes. Predictably the design is also one of the world's most widely-copied, perhaps for those with more sense than money, and who don't want to join the six-year waiting list for one made by Hermes.

However, as PETA point out the real cost is paid by the hundreds of thousands of crocodiles on the factory farms in Texas and Zimbabwe that supply Hermes, some of which were filmed by the charity being reared unnaturally in over-crowded concrete pits before being sawn open and left to bleed to death, or clumsily killed in other cruel ways, with three butchered animals making one Birkin bag. The animals, which can live in the wild for up to eighty years are slaughtered at three, when their skins have reached an economic size for Hermes bags and watchstraps.

The ugly truths behind the accessory for beautiful people has spurred Birkin to write to Hermes stating: "Having been alerted to the cruel practices endured by crocodiles during their slaughter for the production of Hermes bags carrying my name I have asked Hermes Group to rename the Birkin until better practices responding to international norms can be implemented for the production of this bag".

Since then Hermes have claimed that Birkin has been satisfied with their reassurances that the cruelty filmed by PETA and available on their website was "an isolated irregularity".


Armed Forces charities concerned about potential loss of donations from air shows in the wake of the recent Shoreham air disaster that killed 11 members of the public are being given false reassurance, along with the public, about the safety record of air displays by those who make money from them.

According to the PR department of the British Air Display Association the last time members of the public were killed at an event was "63 years ago", a reference to the 1952 Farnborough Air Show tragedy when 29 died.

In fact six members of the public died at the Biggin Hill Air Show in 1980, 35 years ago, when they were being carried on a Douglas Invader which crashed very close to a housing estate attempting a rolling climb stunt.

Fuller story in Event Organisers Update issue 132, September.


Age UK is to cease funding vivisection and joins the growing list of charities whose donated funds are not used for animal experimentation. (Ethical Consumer magazine).

Around 135 medical charities, including Marie Curie Cancer Care and Breast Cancer UK do not conduct or fund animal research, but ninety still do, despite a 2011 opinion poll conducted by Animal Aid that found that 82% of the public would not donate to charities that did.

Information about charities and their policy on funding vivisection is on the Animal Aid database at web:


Parachute jumps for charity have come in for some criticism in a new book about charity fundraising. "Doing Good Better: Effective Altruism and How You Can Make a Difference" by Oxford don and expert in charity giving William MacAskill, reviewed in the Daily Express.

Less than 40% of the money raised from sponsoring a jump actually gets to the charity says MacAskill since the parachute clubs take the lion's share. A sponsorship of £400 commonly sees the parachute club get £250 and the charity £150, making it a very wasteful way of raising money for good causes.



1. From Jonny Krause
New comment on your post "SPITE NOT RIGHT"

This story proves the point that, as far as we can,  we should use our money for what we want while we are alive. Give with a warm hand and avoid the situation of our wealth being fought over after we've gone.


2. From Hannah Brown
This is a really useful newsletter. Please keep us on your circular list.




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Charity Matters is a free eZine, published every two months, which we think you will find a useful and informative resource. It is distributed monthly to approximately 27,000 selected charities based throughout the UK and is designed to help keep you abreast of issues of potential interest.

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