Monday 20 November 2017

Anne Hanniffy: Populist cliches about 'charity fat cats' ignore reality

Anne Hanniffy
Anne Hanniffy

It's almost an annual media story at this stage. Charity 'bosses' earn six-figure sums. Charity 'fat cats' creaming it while working with the poor.

There's no problem with an analysis and discussion of salaries, but let's have the discussion in context and in full. When the focus is on top salaries in isolation, it provides us with nothing more than an unfounded league table that serves to have a falsely premised negative influence on donations, which in turn hurts the very people that charities are working for.

As fundraisers, we believe that not-for-profits should be measured on the level of their achievements – the difference they are making for people – not just the level of their overheads. In reality, the focus on CEO salaries only is devoid of any rationale except that the salaries are big . . . because they are not-for-profits. There is little or no discussion or reference to the impact of the organisation's work, the complexity of that work, the size of the organisation, the CEO's experience or workload. This is where the discussion and debate should be located. This is what donors should be measuring charities on.

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