Friday, 27 February 2009

Fake charity backlash

Rather amused at reading the comments on this piece. Devils Kitchen started a website called which outs charities who receive huge amounts of funding from the state, and are therefore beholden to the state and essentially government agencies rather than what people usual interpret as charities. Charity Finance posts an article decrying such a website with bluster from Help the Aged.
A spokesman for Age Concern denied that accepting money from government inhibits its ability to speak out for older people.

"This has been clearly demonstrated in our recent advocacy work criticising the Government's failure to address increasing fuel poverty and the scandalous state of the social care system."

A spokeswoman for the Internet Watch Foundation, which the website argues is using EU funds to encourage state regulation of the internet, said its EU funding is spent on a hotline for the public to report illegal online content.

"Over 75 per cent of our funding comes from the internet industry, as you would expect from a self-regulatory body."

"We don’t fundraise so we’re not a charity in that sense; the decision to apply for charitable status was more about making sure we are accountable."

A spokeswoman for Alcohol Concern said none of its government grant is used on its lobbying activities.

"There’s no consideration in terms of being critical of government when thinking about funding."

"We are primarily a lobbying charity, we don’t really do public awareness, and if the fact that we get a grant mattered to the work we do we wouldn’t be able to do it."

Whilst Devil's Kitchen has a fine fisking of the piece
Of course you criticise the government. You criticise them until they do something and when they finally do it you criticise them for not going far enough. That is the modus operandi of all lobbyists, which is why, whenever the government does anything, you can bet your last nugget that some twat from a fake charity will turn up on TV saying "we welcome this move but the government needs to go much further."

The government funds these groups because they help it create a fake compromise while bypassing public opinion. Here's how it works:
  1. The government feels like giving you a good kick in the bollocks.

  2. You don't want to be kicked in the bollocks. You just want to be left alone.

  3. A fake charity turns up wielding some bogus study and demands that you be kicked in the bollocks and pelted with turds.

  4. The government conducts a bullshit consultation with some other fake charities and, in the spirit of compromise, concludes that you will be kicked in the bollocks but not pelted with turds.

Result: you get kicked in the bollocks. The government wins.

And if the charity is very good at its job, this will be quickly followed by the fake loophole:
  1. The fake charity produces a study showing that being pelted with turds is not as bad as taking one in the Jacob's. They say that the government is being inconsistent by allowing people to kick you in the plums but not pelt you with turds.

  2. The government agrees and, having set a precedent, it can't be seen to allow one and not the other.

Result: You get kicked in the bollocks and pelted with turds. Democracy has prevailed.
It always amuses me so much more when the comments on a post are unanimously against the thrust of the article.

A Danials
February 27th, 2009
A DanialsOnce I got past your 'duff link' (reprehensable) to the fake charities site and read some of the info, I have to say I am in agreement with the Devils KitchenA Danials

February 27th, 2009
Michael"A spokeswoman for Alcohol Concern said none of its government grant is used on its lobbying activities."

Alcohol Concern received £4,991 in donations in 07/08, while it received £515,000 from the Department of Health.

So what did they do with the half a million pounds then if it was used on its lobbying activites?

If you think that isn't a fake charity then you need your head seen to.Michael

Rob Fisher
February 27th, 2009
Rob FisherI don't think DK's argument is "charities accept government money therefore they can't do their jobs properly".

Rather, the arguments are that a) if people aren't paying voluntarily then they don't care about your cause and you shouldn't be lobbying the government for it and b) since the government uses lobbying charities to justify legislation it looks suspiciously like the government is paying for the lobbying it wants.Rob Fisher


  1. Interestingly, Michael's comments overlook AC's grant income of £116,649 from Comic Relief, £13,000 from Bridge House Trust and £20,000 from the John Paul Getty Foundation. More interestingly, the BHT's 2007 accounts note a grant to AC of £46,000 over 2 years "for a service providing training and information on commissioning services". However, AC's 2008 accounts note receipts of £30,000 in 2007 and £13,000 in 2008. My maths is not great, but where's the other £3k?

  2. then I look at what Comic Relief spends its funds on....

    Per their 2008 accounts:

    - Trade - £1,149,000
    - Climate Change - £249,000
    - Women and girls - £3,241,000

    Not quite what I expected and certainly therefore won't be giving this year....