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The Charity Game

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David Craig has a timely TCW piece on charities and the suckers they exploit so professionally. Including children of course – nobody is off-limits.

Don’t let charities fool you into being a ‘sucker’

AS Christmas approaches, it’s the ‘giving’ time of year when we are bombarded with TV ads for some of Britain’s more than 200,000 registered charities. Many ask you to text a word such as ‘care’, ‘heart’ or ‘child’ to give just £2 or £3 or £5 a month.

We’re told that this small sum can provide lifesaving medicine for a child or provide food for a week. Some charities will be satisfied with your donation, but in many cases this £2 or £3 or £5 a month will hardly pay for the charity’s expensively produced TV ad. The real aim of the texted donations is not to raise money but to harvest donors’ phone numbers to add to the charities’ ‘suckers list’. These phone numbers will be passed on to a telephone fundraising agency who will call the texter.

Not unfamiliar to those who pay attention to these things, but as Christmas approaches it is worth reminding ourselves about the charity game.

Some telefundraisers may work for the charity they claim to represent. But often they will work for profit-making telefundraising companies. Charities pay between £80 to £120 to the telefundraising companies for each direct debit recruited. So, depending on how much you agree to give through your direct debit, little to none of your first year’s donations will get anywhere near the charity.

Setting up a telefundraising company can be quite a profitable business. One which was set up by two former in-house charity fundraisers made gross profits of £10.1million on a turnover of £26.2million and paid its founders £2.5million in dividends over seven years in addition to their generous salaries.


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