1. Charity is Out of Date

Seven Arguments Against Charity
1. Charity is Out of Date

Most people would say that the work of charities is valuable; in fact, some of us would go so far as to say the work of charities is essential for the wellbeing of society.  But, against a backdrop of negative news stories, recent years have seen a perceptible shift and hardening in the relationship the public has with charities. In this first of a themed series of posts,  addressing some of the more common complaints against charity, The Boiling Frog considers whether even the concept of charity is now out of date.

There is a growing view that charities have no place in our modern world. The word “charity” itself is old-fashioned and conjures up images of earnest, mostly retired do-gooders jangling a money tin in a town centre.

It’s true that the term “charity” can sound outdated. And it’s also fair to say that whilst many not-for-profits are professionally run and forward thinking, there are others which are simply unwilling or unable to move with the times.

But the concept of charity is surely timeless.

We see today how the boundaries between for-profit and not-for-profit organisations appears to be blurring; how private businesses are increasingly presenting themselves as socially and environmentally aware.

This is good news for us all, but let’s not forget that for charities these are not secondary matters. Being socially aware, compassionate and giving is not a bonus, it’s what defines the sector.

Part of what still sets charities apart from other organisations are that their staff and volunteers often have lived experience of the cause or need they work for. That gives them a unique insight. People working in charities are quicker to spot the gaps, or withdrawal of state support. They will also have the personal drive to make things better.

It is this authenticity which will always put charities into a privileged position of credibility and trust among the people they serve and represent.

About the Writer– Jenny Hopkins is founder and content curator of The Boiling Frog; she is also a voluntary sector adviser and strategy specialist for Penleaf Limited, helping charities respond to the challenges of a changing world.

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