Posts By: David Ainsworth

“Every penny goes to beneficiaries” no longer rings true

Among the revelations that Comic Relief had been misleading people over its investment policy, another revelation went almost unnoticed – that it has been  misleading people over how much money goes directly to the cause.

Comic Relief has always pledged that every penny donors give goes directly to frontline organisations. It manages to do this, it says, despite spending around £17m a year on staff. Read more on “Every penny goes to beneficiaries” no longer rings true…

A baffling session on the value of Gift Aid

The Public Accounts Committee convened with its normal seriousness on Monday. The top bods of HM Revenue & Customs on one side; some political heavyweights on the other. The plan for the early part of the meeting was to conduct an investigation into whether Gift Aid had been effective at incentivising giving to charity.

Read more on A baffling session on the value of Gift Aid…

If you tell the public the truth, they’ll get it

The latest edition of the Charity Brand Index, our annual publication looking at the best-recognised charities in the UK, reveals the depressing statistic that a quarter of the general public think that only around 40-59 pence in every pound given to charity “reaches or helps the cause”. A further 17 per cent think it’s less than that. Read more on If you tell the public the truth, they’ll get it…

The sector should fight for the right to judicial review

As reported previously by Third Sector, the government appears keen to limit severely the right of voluntary sector organisations to bring judicial reviews. A consultation that closed last week outlines its proposals. Read more on The sector should fight for the right to judicial review…

Have you measured the impact of your impact measurement?

I was pleasantly surprised by the Third Sector impact conference.

That’s not something you’re really supposed to admit about a conference organised by your own organisation, but there we go: impact measurement encourages honesty.

I went along wondering if it would prove to be one for the wonks – full of technical jargon and impact-speak, incomprehensible to a humble journalist. But instead it was full of good, sensible, productive theories about how to use measurement to help your organisation. Read more on Have you measured the impact of your impact measurement?…

Tory Conference proved Hurd is the only minister listening

There wasn’t much good news for charities at the Conservative Party conference. They weren’t high on the agenda, that’s for sure – even at the fringe they were a fringe, so to speak.

And as far as the sector was concerned, it seemed a pretty policy-free zone. There was certainly no evidence of a new Tory strategy for the sector – new policies to boost charities and grow giving. The big society was noticeable by its utter absence, and just about the only MP at any charity event was the charities minister, Nick Hurd. Read more on Tory Conference proved Hurd is the only minister listening…

Boozing, schmoozing and some Labour policies

The Labour Party conference kicked off on Monday morning with an ego-deflating moment for a couple of sector leaders when Paul Hackett of the Smith Institute stood up and introduced the speakers at the Social Investment Forum fringe event.

Read more on Boozing, schmoozing and some Labour policies…

Encouraging signs for the sector at the Labour Conference

Arriving at the conference centre for the Labour conference, I make my way into a lobby filled mostly with sleek young men in good suits, large older men with aggressive facial hair, bald heads and bad suits, and young women looking slightly uncomfortable in power heels. I pass through security directly behind two elderly patrician types who look around world-wearily, as if they have been to every conference every year since 1973. Read more on Encouraging signs for the sector at the Labour Conference…

What trustees should be saying over chief executive pay

After my first two blogs about the newspaper-driven debate over chief executive pay, I’ve received a lot of feedback. Most has been support from charity workers, but there has been a fair bit of opposition, too, from charity workers and others. It’s clear that this debate is far from won, even within the sector.

As I’ve said before, I’d like to see trustees engage with audiences inside and outside the sector, and make the case more clearly to justify the salaries they pay.

Here, basically, is what I would say if I was a trustee of an aid charity… Read more on What trustees should be saying over chief executive pay…

Why isn’t the sector defending chief executive pay?

In the last week or two, emergency relief charities have been pummelled by national news outlets over their payment of chief executives. But they haven’t exactly come out swinging in their own defence. Instead, they’ve put their gloves up, leaned on the ropes, and taken the punches. Read more on Why isn’t the sector defending chief executive pay?…