Charity Matters Jun/Jul 2016 ISSUE 67. Thank you for your continued support, you can find more articles on

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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.

Charities that seem to be run for the benefit of direct marketing firms, rather than those the charity is supposed to be helping, have come under fire from the Charity Commission.

Its latest investigations have shown that some UK charities spend up to 90% of the money given to them by donors on expensive mailshots to raise more money. The Commission randomly selected a sample of ten British charities from a list of 350 known to be reliant on mailshots for their fundraising. The snapshot of the charity sector was not a pretty picture, which then became more ugly as two of the ten closed down after the Commission issued confidential action plans to help them improve. These were the Hungry Children Project, which spent the 90% figure on its mailshots to raise money for children in Haiti, and the World Relief Mission, which spent 72%.

Also uncovered by the investigation was the allocation of between a third and a half of their marketing costs as "education" or "development" and not included in the percentage. Four of the ten charities used this ploy, according to the Commission - Medical Mission International, World Children's Fund, Mother Theresa Children's Foundation and Cancer Recovery Foundation UK.

Given this worrying snapshot donors to charities could not be blamed from making enquiries about the percentage of their money that will actually be going to the causes they are giving to support. For the question is, if the above picture represents just ten charities reliant on mailshots, what's the story on the other 340?


The National Trust, Britain's largest charity with more than 4 million members has been accused of hypocrisy over its sales of greenfield land for building.

The Trust boasts of its opposition to the government's plans to free more land for housing while quietly selling or releasing farmland and grassland for building around Taunton, Shrewsbury and Wrexham.

Meanwhile the Trust has also faced claims of exploitation for paying its senior executives large salaries out of its £100 million a year income and then employing unpaid interns, who receive only travel and lunch expenses, in junior positions.


The Good Country Guide has placed the UK fourth in a list of 163 countries for its high contribution to the common good of humanity.

The guide ranks countries on seven criteria of contributions to Science and Technology, Culture, International Peace and Security, World Order, Planet and Climate, Prosperity and Equality and Health and Wellbeing. The top ten were, in descending order; Sweden, Denmark, Netherlands, UK, Germany, Finland, Canada, France, Austria and New Zealand. On the individual criteria the UK was first for Science and Technology, second for Health and Wellbeing, fifth for Prosperity and Equality, ninth for Culture, fourteenth for World Order, twenty second for Planet and Climate and sixty fourth for International Peace and Security.

The bottom ten, in descending order were; Republic of Bolivarian, Haiti, Suriname, Chad, Syrian Arab Republic, Iraq, Central African Republic, Mauritania, Equatorial Guinea and Libya.


Donors allowing charities access to their bank accounts to collect agreed donations may wish to revisit the wisdom of this after charity Concern helped themselves to up to 100 times the agreed amounts from the accounts of 25,000 donors.

This left many in the red and liable to pay their banks exploitative unauthorised overdraft fees. One had £1,500 taken from their account, instead of the usual monthly donation of £15. Rose Caldwell, executive director of Concern, which helps the poor to combat hunger, has apologised for the errors and pledged that none of her donors would lose money over them.


If you've bought, either knowingly or unknowingly a counterfeit electrical product in the last twelve months you are in the company of 2.5 million who have done the same thing.

According to charity Electrical Safety First this is double the figure for the previous year. It also reveals that one in 12 of us would buy a fake if it was cheaper but that 56% of those who did had problems with it.


The actions of an unmarried woman in Newcastle who has had seventeen consecutive children taken into care over the last 20 years have persuaded childcare charity Barnado's to release funds to help her further. Barnado's explained that it was likely that the woman had issues of mental health, domestic abuse, a chaotic lifestyle and possible substance abuse.

The record figure came to light after a Freedom of Information request to Newcastle City Council, though it is known there are many vulnerable women who have multiple children placed in care hours after they are born.

Media criticism of the authorities has included their failure to make it clear that the right to procreate must be balanced by the ability and willingness to look after the children created.


Oniomania, the posh word for compulsive shopping, is as likely to take over and damage the lives of its sufferers as gambling, sex or work addictions.

This is the view of charity Action on Addiction which points out that compulsively spending time and money on something to lift a mood and seek a "high" puts it firmly in the category of addiction, and that the shopping addiction affects around 7% of the adult population.

Action on Addiction have linked with a luxury shopping website where those who want to know more about oniomania can click onto the charity's logo to find out, but only after they have confirmed their shopping site membership and agreed to be emailed with offers to feed their addiction.


Portable loos at the Glastonbury festival are delivering charitable messages from Water Aid to music fans, using the voices of Brian Blessed, Kathy Burke and Cerise Matthew's, to raise awareness of the 2.3 billion people worldwide who have no access to a basic toilet.

Some of the doors in the low cubicles have been fitted with two way mirrors, which give the impression to those sitting inside that they are visible from outside, while those outside just get their own reflections, the idea being, say Water Aid, to highlight those who have nowhere safe to go to the toilet by making those using the cubicles feel "exposed".



1) From Mike Beazley
The True and Fair Foundation's conclusion ignores the fact that many high streets would be far less lively and attractive if the charity shops closed. Indeed some have little else to offer shoppers other than fast food outlets and coffee shops. Charity shops are valuable social assets in terms of both their effect on the high street and the opportunities they offer for volunteering. It is not just a question of profit on sales. There is a lot of added value being provided.

Mike Beazley


2) From Barry Sunley
Just for your info - Most modern van doors do already have internal handles to open them from the inside for exactly this reason. Her van obviously didn’t. I wonder how old or cheap (or broken) her van was?

Barry Sunley



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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 23,000 selected charities based throughout the UK and is designed to help keep you abreast of issues of potential interest.

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The views of the editor are not necessarily those of the publishers.

Peter Cotterell
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