Needs must…..We share experiences of benefit to all registered charities and of special assistance to potential donors with ethical, green, cruelty free and environmentally-friendly intentions.
1. Small charities are doing badly in present financial conditions, which would otherwise be favourable-as the Gift Aid scheme indicates- but the dominance of the Lottery and of the big organizations and exigencies such as responses to disasters and Acts of God- all estimable competing causes-divert funds that might otherwise trickle into the resources of those SMEs (small and medium enterprises) of the charity world.
2. Some of these small charities, like the big ones, milk what they can from sales of goods (of varying quality or value) or cover, by way of sponsorships, sales of the symbol, or leases of logo, and by other commercial gimmicks cover many of their working expenses, albeit with a diversion of purpose that many of their volunteers and subscribers would regret. Some of these enterprises are industries of their own, as the mail from the post in many households bear witness.
3. In some examples a charity can become a front for a big commercial organization seeking insidious added virtue as a way, for instance, to evade marketing restraints and control of claims, e.g. in advertising. The pharmaceutical and food industries are adept in ploys such as this, albeit with some evidence of the good intended in the charity’s charter but putting subtle and untoward pressure on patients and healthcare professionals and with customers making apparently well-informed choices in the supermarket or health food stores.
4. Active and alert charities have to cope with the fluctuating price of their independence and therefore, say, their ability to ensure long-term engagements for researchers and trainers and for research projects of adequate standards and duration. Many charities-like VEGA-live of f the dead or donations arranged as part of private planning for investments or retirement, or to anticipate the effects of inheritance tax and estate management. The charity may have to function with all the uncertainties of noughty money- that first digit is important (but what a difference those following noughts make), many benefactor and fail to refresh their wills regularly, so more unexpected complications arise-the intended beneficiary may have folded up by the time the Will is proven. An inclement winter, a virus or robust bacteria or other forms of terrorism can indirectly be make-or-break for a small charity. Banks, building societies, and the Treasury lament the unclaimed riches that lie in accounts that slipped from dormancy into almost certain moribundity. Some of this money may well be up for release and controlled distribution in the near future.
5. Resort to financial advisors, who may be recruited for the customers of building societies and banks, and lawyers is an experience for many people seeking to avoid inheritance tax and in drawing up a will. Some lawyers, armed with material from the Charity Commission, will raise with their clients possibilities in the field of bequests, for which they have a book listing all the eligible registered charitable beneficiaries. Big, well-known organizations are likely to gain from spur-of-the-moment choices in the lawyers’ office. The benefactor has the option of the preparatory perusal of the Charity Commission’s website; or s/he may consult a friend or professional and independent adviser.
6. A VEGA Trustee has passed on to us his experience with an independent financial adviser recommended by his building society. After home visits some advice was flowing in an unexpected way: the professional had little experience of the factors in charitable donations and matters such as Gift Aid, in which our Trustee was well versed and experienced. Dealing with financial agents, insurers, and other advisers may offer rewards to customers who introduce new business. No surprise then that our Trustee was thus tempted to offer £80- worth of Debenhams vouchers or a case of quality wine to the value of £80. The surprise came with an offer of £ 80 to a nominated registered charity by the advisers’ firm (the NSPCC or Macmillian Cancer Relief being theirs) or, most importantly, a charity of our Trustees choice. Tax savings associated with corporate charitable donations augment the thus topped up final donation to be worth £100 to the beneficiary.
7. Such negotiations act as an example and precedent in commercial dealings with agencies of all sorts offering inducements to introduce new business for themselves at no obvious cost to the involved parties and a nice reward for a charity. The arrangement should appeal to companies and banks professing ethical intents and therefore likely to attract customers and investors with charitable wishes.
8. We recommend these observations to all potential donors and companies satisfying their customers and tempting them with competitive rewards for introduced business. It’s a customer’s choice and a benefit open to the good of any registered charity, not just VEGA. However, we can no longer afford to send regular copies of our publications by post to supporters, but have to communicate by computer in emailed circulation and by our website ( www.vegaresearch .org), which carries details of many consultations we enter into with government agencies and manufacturers in the interest of cruelty-free food and kind environments. Cartridges and paper for the printer/scanner don’t come cheap. By the way, VEGA is a registered charity number 1045293…