Posts By: Kaye Wiggins

Openness and transparency are a long way off

At the National Council for Voluntary Organisations’ annual conference yesterday, its chief executive Sir Stuart Etherington called for greater transparency about the Work Programme. “It is appalling that voluntary sector organisations are being gagged,” he said, referring to the clauses in some Work Programme contracts that say organisations will “not do anything which may attract… Read more »

What’s better for jobseekers – Poundland, or quality volunteering?

I heard a variety of tales while researching an article about charity volunteers being put on welfare-to-work schemes. Most were related in blunt terms by exasperated-sounding charity employees, and all had worrying implications. It seems that in some cases, charity volunteers who are claiming benefits have been told to stop volunteering in order to complete… Read more »

Charities should be more confident in their deals with corporates

The story in yesterday’s Guardian, which said the charity Variety Club was receiving less than £4.50 per year from each of the shoe recycling banks emblazoned with its name, will have surprised members of the public – many of whom are already wary about the proportion of their charitable donations that make it to the… Read more »

What price training for charity shop volunteers?

The last time I took a donation to a charity shop, it was a great experience. I took an unwanted jewellery box, full of costume jewellery, to a Cancer Research UK shop. The volunteer behind the desk could not have been more excited or grateful for my gift. I left with the warm glow you… Read more »

A big society minister would need a huge amount of power and influence within government

One of the main recommendations in yesterday’s Public Administration Select Committee report on the big society was that the government should appoint a big society minister. The new appointee, the report says, would have “a cross-cutting brief to help other ministers to drive through this agenda”. Judging by the initial reactions, the voluntary sector is… Read more »

Dunsfold hearing does not bode well for villagers’ school plans

Earlier this week I went to the charity tribunal to watch a day-long hearing on a case brought against the Charity Commission by a group of four local residents from the Surrey village of Dunsfold. It was a textbook example of how charity law can complicate what seem to be the most straightforward of matters…. Read more »

Giving charity donations as Christmas gifts can be harder than you realise

As Christmas approaches, charities across the UK are embarking on festive fundraising campaigns – often their biggest campaigns of the year. As they do, they may wish to bear in mind a story I heard recently. A friend’s grandmother has taken the laudable decision that, instead of buying Christmas presents for her nearest and dearest… Read more »

Chuggers worried about new PFRA penalties

The Public Fundraising Regulatory Association caused controversy in the sector last week with its announcement of a penalty points system for organisations whose street fundraisers break the rules. “Breaking the rules” could be as seemingly trivial as taking more than three steps alongside a potential donor, or straying outside an assigned area. More seriously, it… Read more »

Not much for the riot wombles at Lambeth volunteer speed dating

Last night I went to a “speed dating” event organised by Lambeth Council. Before you start to think this was some strange kind of matchmaking service for public sector singletons, I should explain. The “dates” were between locals like myself who wanted to volunteer for projects in their community, and organisations in need of volunteers…. Read more »

How can the do-gooders who turned up after the riots be turned into long-term volunteers?

This week’s rioting in cities across England has shocked the nation – but it has also prompted displays of human nature’s better side. I have experienced two such displays in the past two days in my local area, Brixton in south London, where several shops were looted and a Foot Locker store was set on… Read more »