Monday, 30 July 2007

Criticising Charities

I had a letter from Christian Aid, more or less implying that I shouldn't criticise them because they were a charity and so was the WLT. I.e. it was bad form for charities to criticise one another. Personally I cannot see why I should not criticise another charity, any more than I shouldn't criticise any other business. I have a duty to uphold the values and mission of the WLT, and if another charity is damaging those values, then I am duty bound to criticise.

A few weeks ago Third Sector magazine reported that Bob Geldof 'recently slammed Al Gore's Live Earth event as "just an enormous pop concert without any real goal".' I think Al Gore should have retaliated that the Make Poverty History events were "just another pop concert without any realistic goals".

It is time that the charity world sectorised itself more. There are huge differences in the sector, every bit as great as in the business world. Service delivering charities, such as hospitals and schools have almost nothing in common with a charity such as the World Land Trust. Similarly religion-based charities have very little in common with performing arts charities. Comparing these together is like comparing theatres with banks, or art galleries with refuse collection services. In fact many of the religion-based charities are carrying out activities which are in direct opposition to environmental charities. And some animal welfare charities are undertaking activities which have negative environmental impacts. And so on and so forth. Debate is healthy, and I believe it is only right and proper for organisations like Christian Aid to be criticised for not undertaking Environmental Impact Assessments of their projects in Africa.

1 comment:

  1. Certainly there are large differences between charities and I largely go with your views. I'm not sure I'm a fan of 'sectorisation' though. There's quite a lot of groups which don't fit in tidy sector boxes, and even where they do, can learn lots from organisations outside the box. All charities have to abide by the same campaigning rules, accounting and reporting regs after all. I still remember with amusement the first Charity Accountants Conference where reps from Greenpeace and Game Conservancy (even less green then than it is now) happily workied together in the group discussions.

    John @ VolResource