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Supporting Charities

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As somebody who has been the voluntary and totally-unpaid chairman of a successful registered charity for almost 24 years, few things anger me quite as much as greedy and immoral ‘charity professionals’ whose only reason for being involved in any charity is blatant greed and self-interest. Not one of these vastly over-paid ‘executives’ would have any involvement in these charities if they were not receiving a big fat pay cheque and a ‘generous expenses package’ as they euphemistically refer to the open-chequebook used for their own convenience and comfort.

Most bikers are rightly proud of their long history of supporting charitable causes; I just wish they would take the time to find-out how much of their support would be syphoned away by overpaid staff and/or greedy middle-men before deciding which charities to support.

The charity sector is riddled with these gravy-train charities, Save the Children, Help for Heroes, Cancer Research UK and so many others should be taken to task for such blatant piracy but there seems little political will to do so and the much-vaunted ‘Charities Commission’ has fewer teeth than a daffodil when it comes to controlling the unbridled rapaciousness of many charity executives.

The only way these grasping bastards will ever be put out to pasture is if enough of the public get wise to their unconscionable greed and withdraw their support.

In 2015 twelve of the top 100 charities paid their highest earners more than £300,000 and thirty two of the top 100 charities paid their highest earners more than £200,000. And it’s not just the highest paid employees that people need to be aware of; Cancer Research UK has 189 employees who are each paid more than £60,000 per year, with its highest earner on £230,000 per year.

Here’s a prime example of a greed-riddled charity that is overflowing with avaricious executives who are riding the gravy-train in the 1st class carriage. In February 2014, the Daily Mail reported the following information about the charity ‘Save the Children’:

The charity ‘Save the Children’ has more than twenty of its executives on salaries of more than £100,000 per year. The Chief Executive of Save the Children International, Jasmine Whitbread is paid around £234,000 per year, and yet she still had time to take a second highly-paid job alongside actress Dame Helen Mirren and artist Tracey Emin in Marks & Spencer’s ‘Britain’s Leading Ladies’ fashion advert campaign.

The chief executive of ‘Save the Children UK’ Justin Forsyth is on £163,000.00 per year. There have been questions raised in parliament about the indefensible salaries paid to these executives.

Priti Patel, a member of the House of Commons ‘Public Administration Select Committee’, said: “Taxpayers and individual donors who bankroll these charities will be shocked to see the size of these colossal fat cat salaries. They deserve to know how decisions are made about salaries and who is paid them. The culture of secrecy that exists in some charities must come to an end.”

Charlie Elphicke MP said: “Think charity and you think volunteers rattling their collecting tins, vocation, and compassion. You don’t think of mega-salaries. It’s unacceptable and it has got to change. Charities should be open and transparent.” 

OK, this might seem a bit ironic coming from a greedy overpaid Tory MP with a huge expense account, but the point is no less valid for that (and that will no-doubt be a rant for another time).

I remember a similar call for something to be done about the blatant piracy within this charity’s executive five or six years ago but obviously nothing was done about it.

The 2015 Third Sector ‘Charity Pay Study’ reported the Save the Children International highest earner to have been paid £257,000 – £267,000. It also reported Save the Children International as having 184 employees who are paid £60,000 or more per year.

Only public awareness and the boycotting of these corrupt charities will force them to change. All it takes is a little bit of thought and a few minutes research to be sure that your charitable cause is not a gravy-train for greedy immoral bastards!

Even setting-up an on-line system to enable people to donate to a charitable fund-raising event can be a bit of a minefield. ‘Just Giving’ are one of the best known on-line charitable giving companies. Sadly they also take a commission from the donations made through their system and they charge any charities signed-up to this system a standing monthly charge irrespective of whether or not any donations are received in that month.

Registered charity The National Association for Bikers with a Disability (NABD) refuses to sign-up to ‘Just Giving’ for these very reasons. 

If you are thinking of setting-up an on-line donation page for a charity event there are one or two providers who do not fleece you or the charity you are supporting. Both ‘Give As You Live’ www.giveasyoulive.com and ‘BT Mydonate’ www.btplc.com/mydonate operate in such a way that every penny raised via your event page goes directly to the charity you nominate and there are no charges to you or to the charity you are supporting for this service.

So, what about an example of a charity that doesn’t divert donations into fat-cat salaries?

Well I know of one for certain, because I have been involved in it for 25 years. The National Association for Bikers with a Disability (NABD) guarantees that 100% of every donation will go directly towards the purpose it has been donated for.

We have only two paid employees (admin staff); both are paid a rate agreed as fair after consultations with several trades unions (and this year, for the second time in five years, both have volunteered to forgo their annual pay revue to help the charity meet growing costs). The costs of employing these two paid employees are funded from the proceeds of our own direct fundraising events and merchandise sales, so none of it comes out of donations.

All of the National Committee members and other official representatives of the NABD are unpaid volunteers.

The question has to be asked, If a bunch of ‘raggy-arsed bikers’ can manage a charity this way, why can’t these so-called ‘professional charity executives’? And perhaps an even more pertinent question is: Why are so many bikers and bike clubs still supporting big gravy-train charities instead of an honest volunteer-led charity run by bikers for the benefit of bikers?

If you’d like to know more about the NABD, see www.nabd.org.uk

Rick Hulse

(A slightly abridged version of this article was first published in Back Street Heroes magazine in July 2016).

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THE BIKER GUIDE® are proud to be affliated to the NABD. 

NABD Business Affiliation National Society of Bikers with a Disability

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