12 Jun 2014
June 12, 2014

Dodgy little charities

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Scottish Charity The Dignity Project is in trouble following the despatch of abusive tweets from its account about JKR. The charity has put up an odd, apology-free statement on its front page – it’ s not responsible, it says. Good luck with that, Dignity Project…except, you’re not really real at all, are you?

What catches my eye about the whole episode is that while the charity’s website makes all sorts of claims around what it does – pictures of African children being educated, ‘orphans’ being looked after, building projects and so forth – and while folk have said it’s a shame a decent organisation should be the source of abuse, in truth the ‘organisation’ isn’t actually real at all.  In the last year figures are available, it raised £162 and spent less than £2,492. So it’s basically a website and, maybe, a trip by the website owner to Africa.

The Scottish Officer of the Charity Regulator looks after over 25,000 charities, apparently. The Charity Commissioners (for England and Wales), regulate an additional 180,000. Neither body can keep close tabs on what all charities under its purview are up to and that’s not their remit.  That remit belongs to everyone who ever gives money to a ‘charitable’ cause. Often, charities do amazing work – but sometimes their aims are objectionable; sometimes they do their work badly and sometimes they’re just a self-interested wheeze.

The next time someone asks you to give money to a charity, or says they have a higher moral purpose because they work for one, check out the charity before you do anything. Oh, and by the way, if you’re elderly and you’re fed up with the multinational charities demanding your bank account details in the high street, just say no.

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