Last week, two years on from the collapse of Kids Company, the Guardian published a short but important article critically examining the way charities are run in the UK.
The article highlights some of the flaws inherent within the current system that we as a small charity are most definitely coming up against: difficulties in building up reserves due to the increasingly competitive nature of fundraising and commissioning; operating on a knife edge yet providing a crucial service in demand that isn’t catered for by government provision; and, interestingly, how the notion of charity itself can actually undermine those individuals that charities are claiming to help – the proverbial equivalent of feeding a man a fish rather than teaching him how to fish.
It is a difficult time to be doing what we’re doing. Charities with the big brands are awarded big contracts to deliver services and significant long-term grants as they have the infrastructure and reserves that inspire trust – despite the fact that actual service delivery provision is often patchy. Public polls are indicating that increasing numbers of people are donating less money to charity as they feel that their hard-earned cash is being swallowed up in administration and disproportionately high directors’ salaries. At Foundation for Change we keep our costs incredibly low and all wear several different hats each day to raise much needed funds to be able to continue our work.
It shouldn’t be this hard and something desperately needs to change. If the spectacularly public failings of Kids Company haven’t acted as the catalyst to re-evaluate the current model of charity in the UK, we’re not sure what will. What we do know is that we’ll carry on doing what we’re doing for as long as we can because we know we need to.
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