This blog promises to reveal the inside track of a third sector leader influencing in Whitehall, championing professionalism and causing a stir.
Sir Stephen Bubb is director of Charity Futures, which promotes better charity governance and leadership. He was formerly Chief Executive of ACEVO (Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations) until 2016.
His blog is part of the British Library’s national blog archive.
Tuesday, 7 May 2013
Yes, we love administration!
Now that will surprise my team. But I'm thinking of it in
its broadest sense, rather than as something I would do as a CEO!
“Administration”, “bureaucracy"; words usually said with
curled lips. But they are necessary. Indeed essential. And we want more of it
in charities, not less.
I was delighted to read in our sector media a report that
suggests donors should not favour charities that have low administration costs
as they are likely to be low performers. Research, conducted by Giving Evidence
and Givewell, is the first empirical data to be published about what
administration costs indicate about charities' performance.
It compared 265
charities from 2008 to 2011 and found that in 2011 recommended charities spent
an average of 11.5% of their costs on administration. However charities that
Givewell didn't feel confident to recommend spent less on their overheads, with
an average of only 10.8% of their costs going towards administration.
I do hope that the venture capitalist (I have
forgotten her name fortunately) who has been lecturing us recently about how
wicked it is we pay decent salaries and spend money on admin has read this.
What joy; sun at the Bank Holiday. I spent it at my parents
in the relative calm of the Essex countryside. Saturday was auction day; I was
making various bids through my sister Lucy at an auction house in Cambridge. I
now possess a rather fine but faded Persian rug, a Lambeth Doulton vase (by one
of their most famous designers) and a small oil painting of a Kentish coast
house (by Roland Hilder) which reminds me of my childhood and the Rainham and
Hartlip coast houses that surrounded our village. Most have now succumbed to
the Kent urban sprawl that will no doubt get worst if Mr Boles has his wicked
Rogation Sunday was a time to celebrate the fast
disappearing rural countryside and its farming community. I went with my
parents to one of the local churches, still surrounded by farms and discovered
a fine stained glass celebrating charity.
Stained glass , Bulphan Parish Church
It’s a reference to the biblical text which states,"
And there remains these, faith, hope and charity; but the greatest of these is
That's the King James Bible. Modern editions mistranslate
the original “caritas" as love but charity is the more accurate reflection
of the intentions of the script.
The Churchwarden and his wife (my parents!) with the vicar.
Rogation Sunday is also traditionally the time when they
beat the bounds of the Parish. It often involved upturning a choir boy to mark
the boundary key points with his head. Health and Safety, not to mention CRB
checks, have put paid to that!They did
not do that down here, though the tradition remains in Charlbury (beating the
bounds that is, rather than choir boy abuse). I did the walk once myself but
they were a bit sniffy about taking dogs so have not done so since.