Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Corporate philanthropy - why its good that its not just about the money anymore...

there's a growing trend in the financing of our 'third' sector - increasingly private businesses (cue the usual 'boo - hiss') are investing in charities and social enterprise through gifts, support, sponsorship, philanthropy and other means.

Some see this as a cynical 'green wash' campaign on their part, others as a sign of the increasing maturity of our society as those leading such corporations realise that it is not only possible, but also beneficial, to consider the role of their companies in doing more than just making money.

Historically, these philanthropists have had a mindet that meant they wished to 'give something back' and so handed over the money and let the recipients 'get on with it'. But increasingly, and likely coupled with the shifts in demands for greater transparency and accountability that all sectors are experiencing, philanthropists today are wanting to get more 'hands on' and do more than just hand over a cheque and have the usual accompanying photo shoot.

For many groups, this will likely cause a knee-jerk reaction along the lines of "how dare they presume to tell us how we should be doing things - we're not like big private businesses!", but that's missing the point - these corporate philanthropists have great skills in financial management, raising money, marketing, HR, ... exactly the sorts of areas that we as a sector increasingly accept that we are in need of strengthening ourselves in.

So lets embrace this new generation of philanthropists - and a recent ebook (free to download) sets out some interesting and useful theories and structures to support us to do this:
'Just Another Emperor? by Michael Edwards'

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

secrets revealed!

my last post highlighted the reluctance of the Office of the Third Sector to divulge the review of their core funding to a number of sector bodies on the grounds that it would do more harm than good to do so...

well - they've now decided in light of their decision being challenged to now release them!
click here for links to access the reports, and here for Charity Finance's feelings about the whole process (it was they who asked for them to be released initially)

and ThirdSector have also now posted links to all the individual reports too, which seem to give glowing praise all round, so why all the secrecy to begin with..?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

What are we/they hiding?

a recent enquiry by Charity News Alert to the Office of the Third Sector to ask about how their core funding to 11 national infrastructure bodies in our sector is going has been rejected on grounds that ' would do more harm than good to make that information public...'!!

But surely this decision only fuels speculation that things must be going very badly, or else why would they not want to be open and transparent? After all, all front line groups are expected to be forthcoming with information about their performance - good and bad, so why is the Governement and our sector representative and infrastructure bodies (who lead these calls for greater trasparancy) apparently exempt themselves?

By not revealing anything, we assume the worse - that up to £26m of government money is being squandered, and that there are gross inefficiencies amongst the 'great and the good' in our sector.

Even if there is bad news to tell, surely better to be open and explain how its being addressed and learnt from rather than hiding behind the veil of 'small print' clauses in the Freedom of Information Act?
22nd September - this story is now updated here