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Tofayal Ahmed

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How can a charity rebuild trust?

hello everyone, there is a big debate about how much money we all donate actually goes to the actual cause a charity is involved in. Now it is a clear fact a charity must spend a certain amount on activities in order to raise funds. However not many charities are transparent enough, it is like they do not want to be honest fully in the open. However many charities do state in their annual reports (right at the bottom of the dozens of pages) how much is spent under the heading "cost of generating funds". Now honestly how many people actually would take the time to go through an annual report, i assume not that many.

I've always wondered how cancer research in the UK has been so popular, now i have great respect for the amazing work they do, but they always have TV ads (which is pretty expensive), now i wonder where does that money come from? (surely from the donations we give?), yet many do not question how they are able to do this, or is there any outrage in terms of anyone saying the amount of money spent on tv ads could have been used for research into treatment instead.

however other charities which are smaller such as sight charities or charities dealing with disabilities struggle a lot in terms of building trust and improving the amount of donations they get yearly.

What kind of PR campaigns could these smaller charities do in order to rebuild trust and improve the level of donations given and how is it that bigger charities are able to spend thousands on ads yet no one questions the money spent on those ads.

my apologies for the explanation being so long, any answers would be greatly appreciated and thank you in advance.

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    Feb 17 2013: If small charities were to participate in a clearing house, then they could all advertise that clearing house rating. Such an idea is charitynatigator.org.

    That's not fool proof,but it helps. AND I have to check it every year because charities may suddenly change their focus and MO.

    A couple of years ago, I was preparing to make a donation to a charity. I started looking at how it spent its money. It fed money to other charities in its network, who fed part of the money back to it and other charities who sent money in both directions to other charities - each step of the way giving some of the money away for their intended purposes. Each charity had a well-paid director as well as staff. There were also volunteers, but they seemed to be a cover for all the money flowing to "overhead". I was quite horrified. That's how I found charitynavigator.org.

    It's hard to find a charity that gives 95% or better of its dollars to the intended purpose (rent, electricity, water, computers, etc do have a cost attached), but if you ask around and keep looking, you can find one that supports what you believe in and, as the numbers show. It's my opinion that if charities don't meet this mark, then they're not a charity. They're an employment scheme.
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    Feb 17 2013: Charity, in my opinion, has ceased to be the instrument of building trust anymore. Small charity by individuals are mostly tax rebate incentive driven where no one cares where the money goes and how it is spent. Big charity has lost its credibility of a real humanitarian act - there is absolutely no transparency about it.
    In a more general sense, charity has become an instrument for avoiding personal guilt trip as many feel the conveniences of life they enjoy are not justly earned and charity is a way of putting the conscience at peace in the face of pictures of abject hunger, poverty and destruction of humanity.
    I feel compassionate investment instead of charity is the real agent for any change we wish to bring. Becoming a partner of someone's life changing enterprise is more rewarding and practical.
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    • Feb 17 2013: thank for the reply, that's a great idea. However it is difficult to persuade people to become active due to many other commitments in life they may have. Do you think it would be in the charities best interest to actually state their operating costs and be truthful or is the reason no charity (none i have heard of) done this, because it would most probably have a negative affect on the charity.
      Or could it possibly lie with us, in terms of although it is obvious you have to spend money before you can make any money, most people i would assume (i'm stereotyping here) do not wish to think this about charities, but will always think this about their daily lives e.g. spend money on transport in order to get to work which results in me getting paid.
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    Feb 21 2013: That charity could end poverty! Would you like to know how? Check out this ted conversation scroll up to see conversation

    http://www.ted.com/conversations/16435/why_can_t_we_solve_big_proble.html?c=606119
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    Feb 17 2013: Charity doesn't rebuild trust, in my opinion. Money and emotions are separate categories and therefore, I do not believe that money can equal to trust. Of course it all depends on the people/person. For an example, let's say a Group A was betrayed and hurt by Group B. Group A no longer trusts Group B, as much as they did before. Group B, feeling guilty donates charity to attempt to rebuild trust. However, it is perfectly possible that Group A will never trust Group B as much as they did in the first place.

    What I'm trying to say is that I believe that money/objects cannot be exchanged for trust, because they do not have the same values.
  • Feb 17 2013: There is a great deal not to trust in the World. I have seen some really outstanding ways to help people. I do feel uncomfortable about some of the groups I have done volunteer work with. No they are not bad: It's a question of everything being larger than one person is a bureaucracy. Corporations are worse than governments in this way.
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    • Feb 17 2013: thanks for your reply,
      wow 55% i'm actually in shock, it is very painful to know people give the little money they have and only half of it even reaches the needy. Now obviously every charity will have overheads and have to spend money before they can make any, do you think the saying "honesty is the best policy" would actually rebuild trust.
      For example lets just say a charity had posters or information stated on their website saying something like "hey we believe it is our duty to be honest to you very kind people... so here is the truth....for every £1 we spend on expenses allows us to generate another £3 which we can then put towards our causes". Now if you were to read that would you change your mindset and trust the charity more or would this actually put you off?