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Acevo to launch 'transparency manifesto'

Acevo to launch 'transparency manifesto'
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Acevo to launch 'transparency manifesto'

Finance | Gareth Jones | 11 Aug 2009

Acevo’s Impact Coalition is to launch a ‘transparency manifesto’, outlining how charities should explain their activities to the public, and will urge the Coalition's 240 members to sign.

Speaking to Charity News Alert, Acevo chief executive Stephen Bubb added that charity leaders should do “some serious talking” about a joint awareness campaign for the sector as a whole.

“We need to be clearer about explaining what we do, that we do have overheads as charities, and we’re pretty poor as a sector in explaining the difference we make.

“We have to say ‘yes, we will spend 12.5 p in the pound on salaries, we have bills in our offices to pay, but we will also give £7-9 of value’.

“We have a very good story to tell; we can be a bit shy of trumpeting that we employ more than the banks, that we earn more than we’re given, and we shouldn’t be scared to say these things.”

Bubb argued that charities could learn from the example of employment charity Tomorrow’s People, which hired Oxford Economic Forecasting to study its impact, adding: “As a sector we need to agree ways of measuring social impact, because there are different ways of doing it and no one has really agreed on the best way.”

Public unawareness

The manifesto plan comes following the publication of research conducted for Acevo by YouGov, which included the following findings:

  • Nearly half of the public think there are less than 70,000 registered charities in England and Wales, while only 16 per cent identified the right ballpark figure of over 170,000;
  • More than three-quarters were unable to correctly identify the right bracket of the number of people working in the charity sector as between 500,000 and 750,000;
  • Only one-fifth of respondents came close to guessing the correct proportion of income that charities spend on overheads, namely 12.5 per cent, while 61 per cent thought it was more than 20;
  • More than half estimated that the total annual income for charities was less than £20bn compared to the true figure of more than £30bn;
  • Only 16 per cent were in the right ballpark on the average income charities receive from government as government grants, income and loans, £11.5bn;
  • 22 per cent thought the Equalities and Human Rights Commission is a charity, when it is in fact a public body;
  • Less than a fifth correctly identified Eton College as a charity and only 14 per cent rightly identified Oxford University as a charity.

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