Share

Little things that make me cheerful

Little things that make me cheerful
Blogs

Little things that make me cheerful

Fundraising | David Philpott | 19 Dec 2011

A spot of research on the register of charities reminded David Philpott just how wonderful the UK's charity sector really is.

I saw on the evening news the other day that both my building society mortgage and my high street bank account will be owned by other entities soon.  The government – for better or for worse - has determined that LloydsTSB must sell off over 600 branches including its Cheltenham & Gloucester subsidiary.  I don’t really have a view on this, but as a stakeholder, it would have been nice to have been asked what I thought about it.

Breaking up big monopolies seems to be flavour of the month right now, where even your local council’s requirement to make planning decisions, looks likely to pass to community groups more akin to neighbourhood watch schemes – this,  as the localism agenda takes shape.  

Conversely, parliamentary attempts to revive the old Tesco-charity debate recently – the idea that small charities are suffering as big ones cosy up to government and act like Whitehall departments and that we should start thinking small and local – got short shrift from the chair of NCVO, who described such language as misplaced. Be that as it may; I have a story of good cheer in the small-versus-big, local-versus-international debate.

A relatively small international development charity, with a focus on clean drinking water, commissioned me some months ago to conduct a feasibility study.  They wanted to know if they could successfully transpose their brand to Great Britain and generate several million pounds a year in fundraising revenues annually, in what was perceived to be an already overcrowded market. The research required me to look at over 200 charities on the Commission’s register which had comparable objects and that were operating in similar overseas territories. 

It soon became clear to me that as Mr Duncan Smith had suggested in his famous “Tescoisation” speech in 2005, this arena of endeavour was dominated by a few big household names. But what was refreshing and oh-so-encouraging though, was just how many micro-charities were on the register - and charities that had been there for many years to boot.  For these, the story was consistent.  Man/woman (delete as appropriate) finds themselves in Calcutta / Philippines / Ethiopia / Peru (delete as appropriate) and noticing the abject poverty and realising how much good a few Euros can do, comes back to Blighty, sets up a charity and the rest as they say…………..  Supported in the succeeding years by friends, family, their local church or lodge; year on year people visit the overseas beneficiaries, often taking the cash with them; digging the well with their own fair hands and maintaining a link with the community for over a decade. This is town twinning at its finest, but alas, you won’t see many 'Twinned with Timbuktu' signs as you enter most municipalities in England.

The point is that those big charities that we do not need to name, bring clout and pressure and professionalism to international development work in a way that these micro-charities never can.  They both have their place and it is to the credit of the Charity Commission – that old toothless dog that seems to bark at village hall committees about governance yet cowers in deference like a whimpering spaniel in the face of the big professional organisations – that on this occasion they have got it right.  The register is open to all, save for a few minor, not unreasonable, entry conditions.

But just as Mary Portas suggested last week that we need to proactively engage with our high streets lest the out-of-town developments close them down forever, maybe it behoves us all to pause, wonder and marvel at these little projects and see what we as a sector can do to be more fully engaged with them, for they have neither the funds nor the expertise to lead the charge themselves.

Oh, and just in case you were wondering what I recommended to my clients concerning whether the market could sustain another development charity – the answer was…………………

Comments

[Cancel] | Reply to:

Close »

Community Standards

The civilsociety.co.uk community and comments board is intended as a platform for informed and civilised debate.

We hope to encourage a broad range of views, however, there are standards that we expect commentators to uphold. We reserve the right to delete or amend any comments that do not adhere to these standards.

We welcome:

  • Robust but respectful debate
  • Strongly held opinions
  • Intelligent relevant discussion
  • The sharing of relevant experiences
  • New participants

We will not publish:

  • Rude, threatening, offensive, obscene or abusive language, or links to such material
  • Links to commercial organisations or spam postings. The comments board is not an advertising platform
  • The posting of contact details for yourself or others
  • Comments intended for malicious purpose or mindless abuse
  • Comments purporting to be from another person or organisation under false pretences
  • Gratuitous criticism, commentary or self-promotion
  • Any material which breaches copyright or privacy laws, or could be considered libellous
  • The use of the comments board for the pursuit or extension of personal disputes

Be aware:

  • Views expressed on the comments board are left at users’ discretion and are in no way views held or supported by Civil Society Media
  • Comments left by others may not be accurate, do not rely on them as fact
  • You may be misunderstood - sarcasm and humour can easily be taken out of context, try to be clear

Please:

  • Enjoy the opportunity to express your opinion and respect the right of others to express theirs
  • Confine your remarks to issues rather than personalities

Together we can keep our community a polite, respectful and intelligent platform for discussion.

David Philpott

David Philpott has over 30 years experience of working in the UK, USA and Africa in a career which has spanned local government, Christian missions, the National Health Service, broadcast media, event and conference management, international development work and leadership.

A previous Charity Principal of the Year he now runs his own management and marketing consultancy.

 

Celina Ribeiro (94) Niki May Young (36) Jonathon Grapsas (30) Michael Naidu (23) Adrian Beney (20) Andrew Scadding (20) Kirsty Weakley (19) Andrew Chaggar (17) Vibeka Mair (15) Jonathan Waddingham (15)
Suzie Who (15) David Philpott (14) Robert Ashton (12) Tania Mason (11) Daniel Fletcher (9) David Burrows (8) Jenna Pudelek (8) Alistair McLean (7) Beth Yorath (6) Leon Ward (6) Stephen Pidgeon (5) Reuben Turner (5) Rowena Lewis (5) Tobin Aldrich (5) Mark Astarita (4) Lucy Caldicott (4) Tony Elischer (4) Joe Saxton (4) Tod Norman (4) Ian Clark (4) David Ainsworth (4) Alan Gosschalk (3) Richard Radcliffe (3) Pauline Broomhead (3) Jeremy Swain (3) Gordon Hunter (3) Ingrid Marson (3) Lisa Clavering (3) Adam Rothwell (2) Beth Breeze (2) Matthew Bowcock (2) Cathy Pharoah (2) Ian MacQuillin (2) Tris Lumley (2) John Tate (2) Garreth Spillane (2) Liz Tait (2) Chester Mojay-Sinclare (2) Allan Freeman (2) Claire Routley (2) Alice Sharman (2) Lindsay Boswell (1) Victoria Cook (1) David Davison (1) Bill Lewis (1) Giles Pegram (1) Jo Swinhoe (1) Derek Humphries (1) Alan Clayton (1) Stephen George (1) Gordon Michie (1) Chris Ingram (1) Martin Farrell (1) Morag Fleming (1) Matt Goody (1) Paul Farthing (1) Jackie Mendoza (1) Max Du Bois (1) Alan Hawkes (1) Ken Burnett (1) Ian Allsop (1) Martin Brookes (1) Tesse Akpeki (1) Anne Moynihan (1) Sara Llewellin (1) Rupert Tappin (1) Julia Unwin (1) Jessica Sklair (1) Scott Gray (1) Stephen Hammersley (1) Keith Collins (1) Joe Jenkins (1) Peter O'Hara (1) Debbie Attwood (1) Joanna Motion (1) Paul Marvell (1) Amanda McLean (1) Jason Suckley (1) Paul Amadi (1) Imogen Ward (1) June O'Sullivan (1) Kath Abrahams (1) Peter Lewis (1) Dan Corry (1) Douglas Rouse (1) Belinda Pratten (1) Jonathan Last (1) Jenni Cahill (1) Paul Emery (1) Marcelle Speller (1) Nick Aldridge (1) Philip Spedding (1) Tom Latchford (1) Sir David Varney (1) Liam Barrington-Bush (1) Lucy Gower (1) Jeff Brooks (1) Vicki Prout (1) Dawn Austwick (1) Dan Thompson (1) Steven George-Hilley (1) Emma-Lynn Houghton (1) Peter Horah (1) Neelam Makhijani (1) George Matafonov (1) Marcus Missen (1) Denise Lillya (1) Jaz Nannar (1) Ali Stunt (1) Robin Fisk (1) Gillian Claugher (1) Lynne McMahon (1) Emma Callagher (1) Making Good: The Future of the Voluntary Sector (1) Angharad McKenzie (1) Raj Rajukumar (1)
Less +++ More +++

Learning from history

3 Oct 2014

With the emergence of the cloud, the number of accounting software options is growing fast – just as...

Brooks Newmark: a knit wit?

2 Oct 2014

Ian Allsop returned from holiday to find many in the sector already needled by Brooks Newmark. This article...

It’s not the minister who counts

1 Oct 2014

Writing for Charity Finance magazine, which went to press before Brooks Newmark resigned as minister for...

Councils need to stop trying to control everything and respect the community sector’s independence

23 Oct 2014

Richard Bridge examines the relationships between local authorities and community groups. This article...

Civil society organisations across Europe are seeing their independence come under threat

20 Oct 2014

Voluntary organisations across Europe are coming under pressure from governments not to campaign on issues,...

Focus on ‘independence’ should not distract us from the fact that charities should deliver more public services

15 Oct 2014

Sir Stephen Bubb says that the voluntary sector needs to be at the heart of designing and delivering public...

Free eNews