December 2023
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Charity begins at home – for a lucky few

Friday/weekend blog

The Captain Tom Foundation

I wanted to write about the Captain Tom Foundation which has featured so prominently in the press this week

First let me make it clear that the Captain Tom Foundation (Charity number: 1189808) is a separate charity from the one which raised £38.9m and handed this over to the Association of NHS Charities (registered charity number 1186569). The Foundation was established by the late Captain Sir Tom Moore and his family, shortly after he completed his record fundraising objective for the Association of NHS Charities.

The Captain Tom Foundation hit the news due to the building of what I believe was meant to be an administrative office, which miraculously also seems (according to the Daily Mail – see link below) to have contained a 50ft by 20ft pool house with changing rooms, showers and toilets.

But I had a bit of a problem. The latest financial accounts I could find were for the financial year 5 May 2020 to 31 May 2021. So, that’s quite a while ago and not terribly useful.

However, I did notice a few things looking at the 5 May 2020 to 31 May 2021 financial accounts:

  • Firstly that two members of Captain Tom’s family were trustees of the Foundation
  • In the period mentioned, from what I could see, the Foundation raised £1,058,676
  • In the same period, it paid out (from what I can see) £160,000 in four grants of £40,000 to the Willen Hospice, MIND, the Royal British Legion and the Helen & Douglas House
  • While paying out £160,000 to four charities, the Foundation incurred £162,336 of management costs and £37,097 in administration and governance
  • £695,89o was retained for future use

In the summary of the charity on the Charity Commission website (link below), the Foundation seems to claim that it used £369,433 for ‘charitable activities’. These ‘charitable activities’ included the £160,000 in grants. But they also included £162,336 in management costs, £6,542 in office costs, £8,280 in information technology and £32,275 in governance costs. So, as far as I can see – and I ain’t no accountant – just £160,000 of the £369,433 supposed ‘charitable activities’ were real grants to real charities and the rest – £209,433 – was used for management and administration.

For legal reasons, I would never suggest that there is anything amiss here. But when researching and writing my 2015 book – THE GREAT CHARITY SCANDAL – I found many charities which seem to get confused between the difference between what most of us would consider genuine ‘charitable activities’ and what most of us would consider management salaries and administrative costs.

An out-of-control monster?

There are over 200,000 registered charites in Britain supposedly regulated by The Charity Commission for England and Wales and local regulators in Scotland and Northern Ireland. I believe that there are so many charities that the (IMHO) useless regulators haven’t a clue what’s really going on. But then, when you look at other supposed regulators – Ofwat, Ofgem and Ofcom – all you’ll see is incompetence, bungling, bureaucracy, arse-covering and greed.

Meanwhile, one of the fastest routes to getting rather rich in Britain nowadays seems to be to set up a charity and then pay yourself a huge whack for running it.

One of the most egregious cases I came across was a ‘charity’ which paid around £41,000 in charitable activities in the year I looked at while paying companies owned by its three founders around £90,000 each in ‘consultancy fees’. Evidently the charity regulator saw nothing odd about this arrangement. Similarly, I found many other ‘charities’ where the rewards the founders paid themselves and family members seemed rather generous compared to the modest amounts they used for what I would consider as real ‘charitable activities’.

The Daily Mail recently reported that ‘the Charity Commission turned down an application from the Captain Tom Foundation in 2021 to employ mother-of-two Mrs Ingram-Moore as chief executive on a £100,000 salary. It ruled that the income, was ‘neither reasonable not justifiable’. Businesswoman Mrs Ingram-Moore was later allowed to act as interim chief executive on an £85,000-a-year salary, on a three-month contract for a maximum of nine months. A new chief executive took over in June last year.’

Another game played by many charities is to inflate the amount of money they actually use for real charitable activities. For example even some of our best-known and most loved charities have a tendency to shove administration and other costs into the category of ‘charitable activities’ to make it look like they’re using a lot more of our money for ‘charitable activities’ than is actually the case. One of the most respected charities in Britain puts the £4m-£5m cost of administering its membership scheme into ‘charitable activities’ rather than into ‘administrative expenditure’.

The Charity Commission claims that £9 out of every £10 we give to charities is used for ‘charitable activities’. But according to my calculations almost half of the billions our 200,000+ charities rake in every year never gets anywhere near those it is supposed to help. However, many charity bosses seem to have quite enviable lifestyles and those running international charities can usually be found near the front of the plane enjoying the food, drinks and comfort that most of the people donating to the charities could never afford.

4 comments to Charity begins at home – for a lucky few

  • A Thorpe

    I feel that I should be more concerned about this, but there is a simple solution and that is stop giving. I give about £2000 a year to two charities and I never check their accounts. What irritates me most about them is the constant begging letters for more. Are other countries the same as the UK? It would be interesting to compare what happened in Victorian times with today. They are said to have been supporters of charity but I don’t know anything about it. The hospitals were run as charities before the socialists thought they could run them better.

    Isn’t there a common theme with government regulators? They are all failing to do the job allocated to them, from health to energy and the rest, and all to our disadvantage. The regulators and businesses are now limiting free speech. The government also hands over considerable sums of our money to charities and then there is foreign aid which is effectively charity. Last night there was a discussion on GB News of a possible saving of around £12bn allocated to other countries to enable them to fight climate change. The problem is far bigger than domestic charities.

    The biggest charity of all is the government theft of our money to hand out to others. I was pleased to hear Kelvin Mackenzie making the point that people see holidays, entertainment etc as more important than paying for their health. Socialism distorts all economic decisions. With charities it is not just the money it is what they are doing, take cancer research, we never see what they have achieved. There is no reason for them to produce anything because they would then not be required.

    Our government is at the centre of all these problems and has been for years. It is the slow creep of socialism disguised as being compassionate and having high moral standards, for the greater good, etc. The WEF does not even hide what is happening and openly say we will have nothing, but they don’t say the elites will have it all.

    Rees-Mogg continually says that people are not going to vote to be poorer, but they are even less likely to vote to have their benefits taken away and have to take responsibility for themselves. Once the grip of socialism takes hold in this way there is no turning back and the biggest reason is the damage to the economy that has been going on in parallel with everything else.

  • Carolyn

    Why are there so many charities purporting to support the same cause? Surely these should be merged to give economy of scale and particularly reduce admin and managerial overheads.

    That’s never going to happen because being a charity is a very lucrative number. Found a charity, sit back and wait for the grants to come rolling in. The most egregious example of this recently was Sistah Space run by Marlene Headley aka Ngozi Fulani, the palace race baiter.

    Snouts in the trough indeed.

  • NoVaxxholeMe

    The same applies to these petition websites and concerns that collect the donations for charities taking donations. Why do some charities opt to have concerns, such as Enthuse, collect donations at a cost far higher than PayPal charges?

    Enthuse Fundraising – “One platform for all your branded fundraising. Create a consistent donor experience by managing all your fundraising in one place, with every campaign customised to your charity’s cause.”

    Example charity: “We trust Enthuse to process our donations. They don’t charge us a platform fee, but rely on the generosity of people like you to make this possible. By enhancing your donation with a small percentage, you’ll make sure that Enthuse can keep supporting us and thousands of other good causes.”

    That charity adds 10%, 12.5% or 15% to the donation that goes to Enthuse, depending on the choice you make from a menu of donations that are individual costs that the charity pays for, such as: ” £ 46 One-off – Will buy food, supplements and treats for an animal for a week.”

    All of these charities and donation-collectors are constantly devising new ways of getting as much money off donators as possible.

    Example: “On Tuesday 27 June 2023, HRH The Duchess of Edinburgh visited [name of charity] to commemorate its 40th anniversary. The Duchess, who has been a patron of the charity since 2013…”

  • tomsk

    I’ve got and read your book, a book I would recommend to your readers here. As you say, over a hundred anti poverty charities with the same objectives, why dont they come together to reduce overheads and have more monies for actual anti poverty. Its the same with cancer charities. Another thing is the amount of celebs who will start their own charity/foundation instead of promoting a similar charity to their cause but then again that would not be self promoting. The saddest thing is a news paper report just a couple of years ago about the biggest military charities having over a billion if I recall correctly in reserve, meanwhile we have vets on the street and monies needing spending now. Give to the smaller military charities or the regimental ones of your choice.

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