December 2017
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Don’t waste your money on “Crisis at Christmas”

As Christmas (the season for giving) approaches, most of us are being bombarded by gimme gimme gimme letters from some of Britain’s over 200,000 charities. Among the pile coming through my door was one from “Crisis at Christmas”.

I have given to them in the past. But since I researched and wrote my latest book THE GREAT CHARITY SCANDAL, I’ve become a bit more careful about whom I give my very limited money to. So, before putting a modest cheque into the Crisis at Christmas envelope, I had a quick shifty through their financial accounts. And I really didn’t like what I saw.

The charity Crisis UK was founded in 1967 in response to the Ken Loach film Cathy Come Home shown the previous year, and a publicity campaign highlighting the plight of homeless people. Crisis launched their Crisis at Christmas campaign in 1972.

There were three things that worried me when I looked at how Crisis uses and (IMHO) abuses our money:

1. Too little used for ‘charitable activities’

According to the Charity Commission on average our charities spend £8.50 of every £10 donated on supposed ‘charitable activities’. Of course, I know that’s complete bollox as many charities include things like consultancy fees paid to the founder, administration costs and all kinds of political campaigning as ‘charitable activities’ when they clearly are not. But let’s put that aside for the moment and compare like with like – the financial report from Crisis with the financial reports from other charities.

Whereas the average charity reportedly spends £8.50 of every £10 donated on ‘charitable activities’, Crisis spends only £6.79. That’s a pretty big difference:

Crisis charitable spending comparison

If Crisis could match other charities, that would leave an extra £4m a year less for management and bureaucracy and thus £4m a year more for ‘charitable activities

2. Highly-paid staff

You might have thought a relatively small charity dealing with the homeless in the UK would pay its employees less than charities operating in some of the world’s most dangerous countries? Well, you would have been wrong. Whereas the average employee cost (salary, social security and pension) at charities like Oxfam, Red Cross and Save the Children are in the range of £20,000 to £26,000, the average employee cost at Crisis is a much more generous £37,183:

Crisis employee cost


3. Highly-paid boss

Crisis won’t tell me how much their boss is paid. They just do the legal minimum of reporting that he or she is in the salary band of £100,000 to £109,999 (so let’s assume they’re getting in the middle of that range – £105,000). Crisis has about 251 FTEs (full-time equivalent employees). Yet the Crisis boss is being paid at pretty much the same level as the boss of Oxfam (4,855 FTEs) and more than the boss of CAFOD (444 FTEs):

Crisis boss salary comparison

So the Crisis boss is being paid a similar salary as bosses of charities with many more employees possibly operating in many more countries. Does that seem right to you?

Conclusion – 1 Does Crisis deserve our money?

I have phoned and emailed the media department at Crisis asking why so little money is used on ‘charitable activities’ and why Crisis employees seem to be so expensive. But sadly I have not yet had a reply.

However, from what I’ve seen, I’m not wasting any more of my money on Crisis at Christmas and its (IMHO) over-paid employees and boss.

Conclusion – 2 Why does Crisis even exist?

But hold on a minute. I’ve just seen a TV ad for Shelter. I wonder what the £60m-a-year Shelter does? Oh, Shelter seems to be doing pretty much the same thing as the £25m-a-year Crisis:

crisis vs shelter

So, if we merged these two charities, we could probably save around £7m in administration and support costs. That’s £7m more that could be used for real ‘charitable purposes’. What about it Shelter and Crisis? Oh, you don’t want to merge as that would mean lots of highly-paid bosses and bureaucrats losing their jobs and bosses losing the chance of their OBEs or whatever gongs they’re after.

So, there’s another reason not to give a penny of your money to either Crisis or Shelter. They’ll just waste too much of it on themselves.

Incidentally, the average employee cost at Shelter is £34,992, well above the main international poverty charities like Oxfam (£22,327) or Save the Children (£19,075), but comfortably below the £37,183 of those lucky people at Crisis

9 comments to Don’t waste your money on “Crisis at Christmas”

  • david brown

    I posted link to this article using a spare facebook profile
    on the facebook pages of Crisis and Shelter.

    ps the youtube video With Open Gates keeps getting removed
    the MSM do not want you to see it .Close on four million have.

  • Excellent. Many thanks for helping spread the truth as the charities in question spend millions telling us how wonderful they are.

  • Stuz Graz

    I want my charities run by retired colonels, head mistresses, accountants and other pillars of society who are prepared to do the work for the non-material reward it offers.

    It was always the case that people took on these roles either in retirement or in addition to their day to day role. There is huge kudos and personal satisfaction in this but by its very nature cannot be rewarded with huge salaries and executive perks and bonuses in the way these professional charities are doing. It is completely wrong and I will not support any of them.

  • MGJ

    Pocketing or wasting donations may not be exactly ethical but as long as everything is kept voluntary then it is up to individual donors to make their own judgements.

    However I see this particular charity says it receives £2.5m in ‘Grants’. No details of what this means but presumably handouts from the taxpayer and that I do object to. If it the wish of ‘the people’ to donate then they can do so directly without the government squandering part of it. If it is not the wish of the people then it is indistinguishable from theft.

  • David Jones

    Good to see how the hard earned cash of generous donators is spent.

    Disgraced charity boss ‘used funds to pay for driver’s daughter’s school’
    The former boss of Kids Company allegedly used the charity’s money to pay the boarding school fees for her driver’s daughter.

  • David Jones

    You have been warned!!!!

    Facebook Is Making It Super Easy For You To Give Money To Charity
    With new tools for nonprofits to solicit donations directly from your Newsfeed, Facebook wants to become the platform for giving.

    I have deleted my Facebook account recently ,they are one of the creepiest spying outfits, nearly as bad as Google who spy on the contents of your Email and use that for their and Governments own ends.Big Brother is really watching you now.

  • Tom Molloy

    The more publicity these charities
    receive the quicker they will put there house in order.
    We need total transparency and until that happens I will not give any more money to most charities.

  • caroline eason

    I have just donated £45 to crisis. I do this every Christmas. I wish I could get my money back now, I am furious how they prey on generous people. I am a pensioner with just my state pension every week, so it is not that I have money to burn.

  • Lesley

    I can’t seem to find anywhere how much the Crisis at Christmas tv ad cost and more to the point, who paid for it. Any clues?

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