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?