Sunday, October 26, 2008

The real scandal behind those charity accounts

ISN’T IT scandalous about all those charities losing the money they deposited in Icelandic banks? Well, not really. What is scandalous is the amount of money they were sitting on in the first place.
The National Council of Voluntary Organisations says at least £120 million of charitable funds has been frozen and may be lost. One well-known cancer charity (off the record it’s Christies in Manchester, but don’t tell anyone) is thought to have had £4.5 million on deposit – around 20 per cent of its reserves.

Those of us who have lost friends and relatives to cancer (and that’s all of us) might wonder why over £22 million is sitting in the bank when it could spent on treating patients or on research and equipment, but we’ll let it slide. The really horrifying tale concerns another charity close the hearts of the British people.

The Cats Protection League has emerged as the biggest victim with £11.2 million of deposits now at risk. I’ll say that again: £11.2 million of deposits now at risk.

Now one might question what a cats’ charity is doing with £11.2 million in the bank in the first place, but that’s not all. The charity says the potential shortfall won’t affect its work because its income is actually £35million a year, mainly from the wills of mad old ladies.

But even that’s not all. That steady £35 million a year has now built up to the point that the £11.2 million at risk turns out to be just 16 per cent of the charity’s reserves. Stand back while I do the maths. A charity which looks after animals regarded by many people as only one step up from vermin has actually got £70 million stashed away. SEVENTY MILLION POUNDS. Now that really is enough to make a cat laugh.

According to the Pet Food Manufacturers Association, which should know about these things, there are 7.2 million cats in Britain. The money that the Cats Protection League is merely sitting on – not spending on day-to-day care – works out to around a tenner for each and every one of the blighters. I think we should buy them all a six-pack of Kit-e-Kat and a selection box each and persuade them to defecate in someone else’s garden in future.

And if the Cats Protection League has got £70 million, imagine how much dosh is in the bank of that immensely rich donkey sanctuary in Devon, the one where the inmates have gold-plated hooves and are fed lobster and champagne while reclining on cashmere bedding? The mind boggles.

MORE CHARITY nonsense. Princes William and Harry are nearing the end of a week-long 1,500km motorcycle ride to raise money for UNICEF, the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund. We are told that the 80 riders taking part have each donated a minimum of £1,500 to take part in the event and that volunteers have raised more than £300,000 in total.

I have an alternative suggestion to this Royal jaunt. Given the cost of transporting two such important people, and all the security that must have gone with them, wouldn’t it have been simpler just to cough up the £1,500 and then stay at home? Who knows, they might even have donated the money they would have spent buying donkey-quality champers at that Jubblies nightclub they keep staggering out of. Or even chuck in the eight grand Harry is about to spend on his own motorbike. Just a thought.

WHAT IS it about charity that seems to convince previously normal, middle-aged, middle class people that I’d be really keen to help pay for their belated gap year? You know the kind of thing: “Lucinda and I are trekking to Machu Picchu in aid of the Golden Hooves Donkey Sanctuary and we need to raise three grand apiece to pay for it. I’m sure we can count on your support. Here’s the website address. You can use PayPal.”

Well no thanks, pal. Why should I fund your mid-life crisis adventure? Pay for it yourself if you want to go that much. And the same goes for any parachuting grannies, costumed marathon runners or lycra-clad unicyclists en route from Land’s End to John O’Groats. I’m giving my money to the Cats Protection League, where I know it’ll be safe.

WELL, WE knew it was coming, but after the Powers That Be managed to turn smokers into non-citizens they immediately turned their attention to alcohol, and now the hysteria over our alleged drink-dependency reaches ever greater heights on a daily basis.

The latest stage of this ruthlessly organised campaign is to make shoppers face a ‘walk of shame’ to a dedicated checkout counter in the supermarket. This would supposedly deter shoppers from making excessive purchases by putting them under the scrutiny of fellow shoppers.

Have they gone mad? Why should I care what other people think just because I’ve got three bottles of Chardonnay and a six-pack of Peroni in my trolley? The woman behind me is wheeling along a selection of Findus Crispy Pancakes and four tubes of pile cream, yet I’m supposed to feel embarrassed? It’s nonsense. And I’m sure the bloke who hangs around our local Co-op waiting to buy his two-litre bottle of cheap cider at 10 in the morning doesn’t care either.

And all this from the government that for some perverse reason introduced 24-hour drinking. You have to wonder sometimes if they have a clue what they’re doing.


Blogger Angry Steve said...

You still wonder if they have a clue?

1:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've belived for some time that charitable organistions are now charities in name only. These stats confirm that, hence they'll be getting no more from me.

2:03 AM  
Blogger alex said...

I did hear some great charitable recommendation from an old boss of mine.

We were, at the time, plagued by those day-glo tabard wearing thugs who mill about on main roads looking to jump anyone who looks pliant enough. He advocated asking how much they were being paid to do this guilt-based extortion, and discovered that it was usually around £7 per hour.

In running his village hall he'd managed to get administrational overheads down to virtually nothing so anything raised could be spent on the hall instead. Since he'd taken charge they'd gone from being a loss making failure to having a timescale for a new roof etc.

He figured that the best way to apportion money to charity was to only give to those with low administration portions of their budgets, since those that don't have other agendas than just the stated one.

Presumably the Cancer research people build up a pot of money ahead of the research grants process, to dish them out at the beginning of the academic year.

All the best

3:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All those cats just waiting to be made into coats and gloves just as the weather turns cold.

Mine are the matching tabby pair from the house on the end. They've crapped in my garden often enough...

6:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've heard that cat taste of chicken.

4:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pussies smell of fish.

8:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Another Holiday??

Have you been laid off??

Where are you

12:09 PM  

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