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Double standards

Posted in: Blog, by Bridge2Aid Team, on 10th October 2013 | 0 comments

by Mark Topley

Something I often hear from supporters and critics alike is that ‘Charities should be run like businesses.’

I both agree and disagree.

If by ‘run like a business’ you mean effective, efficient, entrepreneurial, challenging, with a big vision, then I think that’s absolutely right.

But I find that often people mean run with as low an ‘overhead’ cost as possible, paying staff as little as possible, not spending money on ‘admin’, and showing as high a spend as possible on what they view as ‘real charitable activity,’ or direct costs.

The issue was recently highlighted by the Daily Telegraph who published a series of scathing articles on executive pay in the charity sector.

Although I believe costs should be controlled, the argument that overhead is naturally bad is over-simplistic, and actually contrary to the way that businesses actually operate with their sales, marketing and innovation budgets.

I’ve found it very hard to put into words what I believe in this argument. And then my friend and colleague Paul sent me a link to this excellent video.

Brilliantly argued, it’s 18 minutes long. But push through because I think after seeing this, you’ll change your mind about how charities should be measured.


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