Friday, 21 August 2009

Pushing Charity, keeping healthy

We have released the findings of our YouGuv poll on the UK public’s perceptions of the charity sector. The results provided clear evidence that the public don’t know how big and far-reaching our sector is, what are charities and what are not, where we get our money from or what we spend it on.

Why should we care? Charities enjoy a privileged position; charity leaders are currently second only to doctors in the well known Edelman trust register. However, it is clear that this trust is largely based on a framework of myths about how we operate. That is not sustainable and, given the recent failures of trust in business and politics, we cannot afford to perpetuate these myths any longer.

The ImpACT Coalition has been central to championing greater transparency and accountability in the sector since 2005. ACEVO is now hosting the Coalition which already comprises over 280 charities and trade bodies. We are recruiting someone to support this work full time at ACEVO.

In order to move the campaign forward we need to have the commitment of the sector’s CEOs and trustees. In the coming months the ImpACT Coalition will be drawing up a ‘transparency manifesto’ which it will be urging all third sector leaders to sign. But I also think we need to consider a major national public awareness campaign that sells the concept of the modern day professional charity. We need to be upfront on the costs of runnig a charity, on paying CEOs and staff professional slaaries. Now I know there are some in the sector who say" keep quiet", we don't want to alarm anyone or put people off giving so let's pretend we don't have overheads and all their pounds go directly into the good cause. I want to challenge this woolly thinking

There is a good article on this in " third Sector" from my goodself. Do read it.

Well, our first swine flu victim is back in work, the irrepressible two Brains Michell, Head of our Policy Team. None the worst for his experience it seems. Though inconveniently he is now disappearing on annual leave. What will we do!

Still this is a contrast to the alarming headlines in one paper about Home Office plans for mass burials and non stop cremations ! I guess its a silly season headline? Let's hope. But also not get panicked (sensible precautions though: I continue to religiously wash my hands on a regular basis).

I've been in beautiful Charlbury for a few days - I have had my annual diabetes check at our marvellous Health Centre ( never open at weekends disgracefully! ). Not a bad result I'm glad to report. I must say I always find the question on units of alcohol a poser. One doesn't like to excite them too much so I plumped for a modest 15 - at which point she asked if I'd like the pamphlet on this. I said no thank you as I did not want to get depressed.

But overall I'm pleased; obviously down to the wonderful Hound who keeps me exercised when she takes me for a walk- at her pace which is a very brisk walk!

And I now have my own sugar glucose meter to test levels. What fun! More intimations of mortality.

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