Posts By: Stephen Cook

Oh dear – another U-turn

The Chancellor’s decision this morning to ditch the plan to impose a cap on tax relief for major donors was the government’s third U-turn in a week – the fourth, if you count the pasty tax and the static caravan tax as separate items. It came as a surprise to me – in fact, I blogged this morning to say I thought it unlikely (though not impossible). I thought the government was going to tough this one out, at least until after the summer’s consultation. Read more on Oh dear – another U-turn…

Claire Squires: salvaging some good from a tragedy

There must be mixed emotions at Samaritans today – the day of the funeral of Claire Squires. Had she lived, her contribution to the charity from her London Marathon run would probably have been a few thousand pounds. Since her death, it has received a windfall of more than a million pounds in the space of a week. Living with good fortune that flows from tragedy is never entirely comfortable. Other charities must envy Samaritans – yet not envy them.

Read more on Claire Squires: salvaging some good from a tragedy…

Why I’m shifting my donations this year

Two stories struck me over the Christmas and New Year break: the first was the news that Save the Children had raised more than £7m in its East Africa Appeal – a record for the charity; the second was the new year message from the Archbishop of Canterbury that we should not give up on young people in Britain, even though some of them had taken part in last summer’s riots.

The archbishop’s message reminded me of figures in last summer’s Charity Market Monitor, which showed a fall of more than 10 per cent in the year 2009-10 in donations to charities supporting young people. “This is a worrying result at a time of rising unemployment, when young people particularly need support and help,” it said. Read more on Why I’m shifting my donations this year…

Royal patronage in action

To Clarence House, home of the HRH the Prince of Wales, for a reception to mark the centenary of Macmillan Cancer Support: there were probably more than 150 people there, ranging from the tough former bankers who now inhabit charity boardrooms to the charity’s staff and major donors. All were slightly a-quiver at the prospect of meeting royalty.

Read more on Royal patronage in action…

Sir Terry Pratchett hasn’t lost his edge, and his charitable impulse gets stronger

It’s not evident when you meet Terry Pratchett that he’s suffering from Alzheimers: he’s mentally sharp and there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with his memory. He’s also just completed one book and is writing two more.

Read more on Sir Terry Pratchett hasn’t lost his edge, and his charitable impulse gets stronger…

Impact measurement is the sector subject du jour

Analysing and measuring impact is a hot button for charities at the moment. Everyone seems to wants to know more about it. One piece of evidence for this was the high attendance at a Third Sector conference on the subject yesterday. So many people wanted to come that the event was twice moved
to a bigger venue and ended up in the conference centre of Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium in north London, which was a shock to the system of one or two Chelsea season ticket holders in the sector.

Read more on Impact measurement is the sector subject du jour…

Ditching extra insurance premiums for volunteer drivers was long overdue

There was a certain amount of backslapping this week when
the Association of British Insurers announced that 54 insurance brands would
no longer be charging extra premiums for people who use their cars for
voluntary activities, such as taking people to hospital or on days out.

Read more on Ditching extra insurance premiums for volunteer drivers was long overdue…

McLean’s departure is a blow for the IoF

Amanda McLean’s resignation after only four
months as chief executive of the Institute of Fundraising is a huge talking
point in the sector. It’s the second most read story of the year on Third
Sector
‘s website, with a dozen comments left by readers and letters still
coming in to the magazine.

Read more on McLean’s departure is a blow for the IoF…

Big society fatigue sets in

It’s been hard to get away from the big society in the last couple of weeks. All the papers – including the Sun – have been on about it, and every second programme on radio and TV has been trying to get a handle on it.

Read more on Big society fatigue sets in…

They’ve all got it in for Dame Suzi

Axe hovers over quango queen,’ squeals the Daily Mail, in response to a Sunday Times piece headlined ‘Quango queen faces sack for attack on private schools.’ It’s unusual for the Telegraph not to be in there too. It’s not the first time the right wing press have had a go at Dame Suzi Leather, chair of the Charity Commission, and it won’t be the last. They’ve all got it in for her.

Read more on They’ve all got it in for Dame Suzi…