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Society Diary: Impromptu speeches, cuddling lambs and G-Unit

05 Apr 2019 Voices

This lamb may, or may not, be about to become an adviser to the Charity Commission for England and WALES

Happy Friday, once again. The world chunters on, we are yet to Brexit and, still no-one has the foggiest what is happening. 

The main news this week from centre of power was that Parliament was suspended to deal with a leak in the press gallery, an actual watery leak - the government has long abandoned any attempt to stop ministers leaking information to the press. 

At this juncture, Diary would like to point out that when the roof at CSM Towers sprung a leak, creating mildly wet conditions for the hard-working professionals here, there was no interruption this important charity satire service (or any of the arguably more valuable things our colleagues do).

Anyway this week we bring you impromptu after dinner speeches, fluffy friends for the Commission and a show of generosity from 50 Cent. 

‘There will be no after dinner speeches, except there will’ 

Monday was one of the biggest days in the voluntary sector calendar. The NCVO conference, followed by the dinner for great and the good (and the occasional journalist who has managed to sneak past security). 

Anyone who is anyone was gathered to learn, share ideas and network, or just gossip. And let’s be honest Diary was mainly there for the gossip. And the chocolate tart, which was easily a highlight. 

As dinner was drawing to a close, and dessert was being served, Sir Stuart Etherington leapt to the stage for what was technically his third speech of the day (earlier he’d delivery the annual state of the sector address in the morning, and welcomed everyone to the dinner) to announce that “there will be no after dinner speeches” we were free to drink, mingle and leave. 

Except not quite yet, Sir Stephen Bubb, former chief executive of Acevo and long-term sparring partner, took to the stage to pay tribute to Sir Stuart’s contribution to the sector, given that it is his last annual dinner (as chief executive of NCVO). 

Clearly not to wanting Sir Stephen to have the last word, at what was after all his last annual dinner as chief executive of NCVO, Sir Stuart returned to the stage to thank Sir Stephen, NCVO staff past and present, NCVO trustees past and present, everyone in the voluntary sector, and just about everyone else. 

Fortunately that was the end of it. Diary wonders if the other residents of the Tuscan village, where both Sir Stuart and Sir Stephen have a home, know what they’re in for at next year’s Christmas party. 

New friends for the Commission 

Last week, Joe Saxton, driver of ideas ( his actual job title, not something Diary has made up) called for the Charity Commission to be stripped of its responsibility for Wales. You might think that given it frequently complains it is stretched the Commission might welcome the idea of shedding a whole country worth of responsibility. 

But no, the Commission got rather snippy (in civil service speak), and pointed out that it does actually have an office in Wales and a board member for Wales. 

Nevertheless, to prove its commitment to Wales the Commission recently went on road trip, and reader things could not have got more Welsh, as this photo of the Helen Stephenson, chief executive of the regulator literally cuddling a lamb shows. We're sure the fluffy ball of joy had some useful thoughts of charity regulation. 


Diary is disappointed media weren’t invited on this trip and will be putting in an official complaint to the regulator. 

The G stands for generosity

Your favourite rapper, 50 Cent, this week announced that he has sold his Connecticut mansion for $3m, with proceeds going to charity.

A source close to the rapper, real name Curtis Jackson, told news site TMZ that the money would go to the G-Unity Foundation, a charity set up by the artist along with fellow G-Unit members Lloyd Banks and Tony Yayo.

According to TMZ, Fiddy’s 50,000 square foot former crib, previously owned by boxer Mike Tyson, includes 21 bedrooms, 25 bathrooms, nine kitchens, a casino, nightclub, basketball courts, pond, helicopter pad, an indoor pool and “an outdoor infinity pool and grotto”.

While Diary celebrates the income boost for the G-Unity Foundation, it looks like Jackson sold the palatial mansion cheap, considering he bought it for $18.5m 2007.

Diary thinks a better idea might have been to gift the mansion itself to Fiddy’s charity for use as its new headquarters. While the grotto might not be the best location to hold quarterly meetings with trustees, the casino, nightclub and pools could presumably host some legendary fundraisers. It could be like a year-round Fyre Festival but with actual infrastructure. Perhaps the charity could run a shuttle helicopter service to the nearest train station.

And finally

Big thanks to GoFundMe for this amazing spread. It arrived a week late, but we've agreed the kebab was worth the wait. Diary's colleagues are variously asking for Thai, Krispy Kremes and pizza. 


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