Mistakes happen. They are one of the few guarantees in life. But it is how you manage these and the way in which you take responsibility and are accountable for your actions that is the crucial thing.
It is no secret that the charity sector is under increasing pressure. Local charities, in particular, are struggling to find sustainable resources. Many don’t have enough security to offer full-time positions and they are having difficulty securing funding from ever-shrinking local authority funds and the competitive arena of individual giving.
The national corporate charities for a while felt untouchable. Many critics saying they are becoming much like private sector businesses. But the RSPCA scandal and Oxfam scandal more recently, beg to differ. On a slight tangent, I think it is naive to think that charities can’t function like businesses. Fundraising is as much to ensure the security of the charity and paying for its operational functions in the current climate as it is to go to the all-important beneficiaries.
— Ed Holloway (@ej_holloway) February 20, 2018
The problem with the large scale scandals, however, is that it causes the public to lose trust in charities of all shapes and sizes. Lost trust is detrimental to most kinds of relationships. Supporter / Charity relationships being included in this. If we are donating money to charities which we hope will make a small difference in the world, we need to know that it won’t be misused. Now although this could be slightly subjective, I guess we can all agree that we want to ensure that the money will go towards whatever the charity said your money would be used for.
Accountability and governance are equally as important in the third sector. These are not just “tick box exercises”, they need to be at the forefront of strategic decisions and communications. We want transparency. When things go wrong in the charities we support, we need to hear about them. We need reassurance that they are being well managed and most importantly that the beneficiaries do not suffer for their mistakes.
If we want charities to be transparent – & we do – we’re unfortunately going to hear more about things going wrong. Harassment and abuse clearly exist across all sectors and countries, & no-one can be complacent.
— Vicky Browning (@browning_vicky) February 11, 2018
Cover-ups are (thankfully) becoming more and more difficult in general. The truth usually and rightfully will always find a way to wiggle its way out. The third sector needs to continue proving that they exist to do good. It is critical that the correct processes and procedures are in place to effectively manage these circumstances. These processes and policies must also be reviewed and updated to reflect the times, encouraging best practice and the protection of all parties involved.
We can no longer rely on the old perception that charity = good. We must prove it with our actions, building trust and embracing transparency.
Other interesting info & reads:
- The Transparency Perception Gap
- Why transparency in the Charity Sector is so important
- Have charities finally regained public trust when it comes to fundraising?
- The Oxfam scandal does not justify demonising the entire aid sector
- Charities commit to taking better action on safeguarding
Tweet me your thoughts @maldrichwincer.