Having previously written Being an Open Book and Giving to Charity; about charities/non-profits needing to be open, I thought it worth looking at how we feel about giving to one charity only for our donation (or more correctly part of it) being redirected to another cause.

There are a few questions that need asking when considering this:

  • Does the charity’s charter allow them to make donations to cause?
  • What is their criteria for giving?
  • Have they communicated with their supporters about making these types of ‘donations’?
  • How does their giving affect the work they’re set up to do?
  • Does anyone/anything miss out as a result?
  • Why are charities approaching other charities for donations?
  • And, last but not least; how, as a donor do you personally feel about the charity you support making donations to other causes?

If I gave to one charity for a specific project and later discovered that the organisation I’ve given to has made a donation to someone else, I don’t think I’d be too happy. I gave to them to do the work they do in the community, not for them to give to someone else.

Sure all charities, if we look at the bigger picture are doing work in the community, and thus their giving could be seen by some as carrying on our ‘wishes’ of supporting the community. But, I don’t think it’s that simple.

If you give to a charity to help the elderly, how would you feel if they then made a donation to an organisation raising awareness of cancer?

How about a charity that solicits funds from the community to help children, passing on a donation to an organisation dealing with men’s health issues?

As a supporter of charities and someone who works closely with people in the non-profit sector, I’m confused as to how organisations can make these types of donations. More, so – how can they do it without communicating this to their supporters?

What about organisations who receive funding from local or central government for specific projects, redirecting some of this to other organisations doing work in the community, but not necessarily in the same areas?

Surely a charity needs to work to their charter; that’s what they’re set up to do, if they want to make ad-hoc donations; then these must be communicated to their supporters. If they see some supporters drop their level of giving, or walk away completely – that’s something they’ll have to deal with. But the main thing is that they are being open and honest about what they are doing.

Transparency in the charity, non-profit sector is imperative.

Note: this originally appeared on AdageBusiness

Photo credit

© Woo Bing Siew



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