Society Diary: Sod the Daily Mail, suppression impressions, and commitment-phobic relationships

10 Jul 2015 Voices

Our weekly round-up of interesting and outlandish information, collected from the corners of the charity sector.

Our weekly round-up of interesting and outlandish information, collected from the corners of the charity sector.

Sod you, Daily Mail

So obviously it’s wrong to pick on people, ring them up and harass them in their home and place of work, subject them to faux moralising and generally make them miserable in order to generate revenue to line your own pockets.

So pack it in, Daily Mail. We’ve had enough of you hassling people who work for charities.

For those who missed it, the Mail ran what you have to say was quite a powerful exposé of practices at GoGen, a fundraising agency, highlighting some apparently pretty dubious tactics. It was a wake-up call for charities.

But then the paper rather ruined it by writing a bunch of ad hominem attacks on individual fundraising directors, basically saying that they were heinous people because they lived in quite nice houses and got invited to parties from time to time.

A brief investigation of the Mail’s accounts reveal that it turns over about as much as the four charities in question do combined. Oddly enough, it also pays its senior staff pretty well, despite apparently being opposed to the notion.

Paul Dacre, the editor, gets £2.4m, as much as all the senior directors of all four charities. Safe to say he probably has a heated swimming pool and nice gates, too.

And arguably, he’s less use to the people of Britain than any one of the fundraisers his paper pilloried. But don’t expect to see too many articles complaining about it.

Help, help, I’m being suppressed

This is a Diary special about charities getting told off, basically. Obviously, there’s been quite a bit of this in the last month or two. On Wednesday it was the turn of the IoF, FRSB and PFRA, who were hauled in to see the minister for civil society at short notice following the Mail exposé.

Or at least, it seemed like that; it may have been in the calendar for ages, and Diary has chosen to interpret it that way because it seems dramatic.

The minister, anyway, wanted to know why the IoF hadn’t known about what GoGen were doing. He was probably faced with a blank shrug from an increasingly irate Peter Lewis, who after all can’t really be held responsible for everything every fundraising agency has ever done.

So the minister has now demanded the creation of a national suppression database.

Diary didn’t initially know what this was, but it sounds rather sinister. So rather than find out, this column started dreaming up ideas about what it might mean.

The first thought was that the suppression database was a hitlist of people who’d dared to suggest the Tories had got anything wrong, and who therefore needed to be silenced.

Maybe it included people who wanted to say, for example, that taking away young people’s benefits might lead them to a life of crime, or that it was odd that Atos had labelled the decomposed corpse of Richard III fit for work. Or perhaps just that some poor people don’t have enough to eat, and that might be because the government had cut their benefits.

Perhaps, Diary wondered, the suppression database might have a list of charity chief executives who would have to be taken away to Portmeirion and be chased around by a giant beach ball shouting “I am not a number, I am a free man”, while demanding that they wanted number one, not number two – a phrase which Diary can only surmise meant something different in the sixties.

Happily, all of that is utter whimsy. A national suppression database will actually contain the names of all the people who don’t want to be on charity mailing lists any more, so that all charities can consult it and remove the relevant individuals.

In theory this sounds like a good idea. But it may share a flaw with many other good ideas, in that it won’t work.

Yeah, but she doesn’t like my favourite armchair and I’m allergic to her cat

So the PFRA and IoF have announced a strategic partnership to engage in closer and more effective co-operative working.

Diary understands it’s compulsory to use the metaphor of marriage for all charity partnerships, so let’s try to interpret this move in those terms.

Essentially, what we have here are two organisations who know that all their family and friends think they ought to get married, but who are dancing around the subject because they want to be able to go on holiday with their mates and are worried about who’ll do the cleaning and who gets control of the stereo.

So as a compromise, one of them has moved in round the corner from the other so at least they share the same local, and it’s not too far home in the evening.

Maybe in a couple of years they’ll move in together, but only to make their mums happy.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. Read our policy here.