Charity Fatigue

Charity fatigue – fact or fiction?

Listen to any of the major charities here in the UK and they will tell you they have never been so short of money as they are now, and yet when ‘Children in Need’ was hosted by the BBC recently they actually raised more money than ever before.

There is no doubt that whether we like it or loathe it, charity has become big business and we are constantly targeted and begged to give money for everything from mistreated donkeys to earthquake victims.  I believe the people working for the various charities as fund raisers have brought modern accounting practices with them, and with the greater sums collected comes bigger and bigger overheads.

So how can it be that whilst all these national charities are doing TV and press adverts, direct mailing and are now even sending collectors door to door, that their expendable income is falling and we are said to have charity fatigue? – yet the BBC once again drew record donations from us all.

Yes, people are more worried about their job security and future income, but I believe that as a nation we are as charitable as ever but we have become more selective in who will benefit from our goodwill.

Turn on any news channel at any time of day and you are likely to hear of earthquakes in Italy or Turkey or that a mud slide has wiped out a village in a remote country that you’ve not heard of, and yes, since Live Aid we have all become desensitized to such calamities – but as the BBC showed us; children still tug at our heart strings and then our wallets and purses.

Call me a cynic but I decided to do some personal research related to English charities and children to see how much of their income actually wound up doing what the money was donated to do.  I was not too surprised to find that in general terms the greater the total income the charity has the greater the expenditure.  I was though surprised by two charities that this trawl uncovered.  The first is Ockenden International which is run from a small house in the South of London and has been around for more than 50 years helping families and communities in the third world become self reliant.

The other charity that I discovered,  ASCT or Asian Students Christian Trust run from premises in Camberley is solely concerned with helping street children in the Philippines.  I think most of us have seen Slum Dog Millionaire and perhaps we dispelled it as a work of fiction but looking through the web site and viewing one or two movies for this charity showed that the reality of life on the streets for children in Asia is very close to the movie mentioned above.


This article was written by Terry, who as well as doing SEO work, looks after

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  • Paul

    I have to agree with Terry; Whilst I do give money to charity quite regularly, I do feel desensitised by the constant barrage of ‘Charity Adverts’ on TV and ‘Chuggers’ in the street. Charity used to be a private and personal choice… not a guilt-trip.

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