As a charity chief executive, I've been asked a lot recently about the demise of the Kids Company charity. It has generally led to a wider conversation about charity fundraising, what "business-like" means in relation to running a charity and what the role of a charity chief executive is. So, I thought I would give my overview.
It all seems so cut and dried. Hundreds of families and Kids Company staff protest outside Downing Street, blessed briefly by the presence of the charity's founder, Camila Batmanghelidjh. Charity good; government bad. Kids Company failed because the government wouldn't bail it out. Damn those heartless bastards. The reality is so much more complicated.
Blindly investing time and money into adopting these new technologies can be just as risky as not investing in them at all. There's no one-size-fits-all model, and charities should not be making these difficult decisions in the dark. So how can charities know which changes to make to ensure digital fundraising success for their organisations?
Most of us could get more money and have more resources at our disposal in the private sector or even in the public sector. We do what we do because we identify with those for whom we advocate and are disgusted at the injustices they face. Surely we are doing a profound disservice to them if we choose to remain silent rather than joining with them in calling for changes that will improve their lives.
At first glance, the importance placed by all of the main parties on supporting apprenticeships, vocational training, careers advice and widening participation build on the commitments in the 2010 manifestos and are to be welcomed. We must though learn the lessons of the last five years, where the actual record is more mixed.
The reaction from the Charity Commission on these cases was in my eyes exemplary. Not only did it act swiftly to remove a charity that should have never been on their register in the first place but it also was quick to reassure the public on social media and elsewhere that the programme did 'not reflect the vast majority of charities that are properly run by honest trustees'.