What’s Wrong With Charity?

Whats wrong with charity - Tim WatkinsRecently we had the pleasure of reviewing Tim Watkins book; What’s Wrong With Charity?: How modern charity practices are undermining our communities, democracy and public trust.

Charity – the voluntary giving of one’s time or money to alleviate suffering, to improve the conditions of our fellows for the common good – has been a key element of civil society for centuries. However, at the beginning of the 21st century a series of scandals has created growing unease about contemporary charities.

The book sets out why we need to examine the system that creates fraud and mismanagement rather than treating each case as if it were solely caused by corrupt or incompetent individuals.

The book, using many examples, confirms our thoughts on what’s wrong with the charity sector today, including: The difficulty of regulation and the abuses that this can cause, the growth in paid employees and the salaries that are paid to the top executives, the reliance and influence of corporate funders and charities behaving like businesses. The author ends by posing the question: Is it time to change the model? Let’s hope this book starts the debate.

In our opinion one of the best quotes from the book sums up our ethos:

If we want to build the ideal of charity – of communities voluntarily and altruistically looking after our own – then we need to work together to change the model. And if this makes the people who run and work for charities uncomfortable; good! The role of anyone who runs or works for a charity must be to make themselves redundant by solving the problem for which they were established.

The author makes some good points and sticks with what he knows as the book is England and Wales centric. Perhaps there’s a space for a Scottish Edition as there has been many criticisms of the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) and many examples of charity fraud, sometimes on a huge scale.

If you want to know what’s wrong with charity today then get your copy here.

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