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Thread: Charities - I'm opting out for a while

  1. #1
    Master TimeThoughts's Avatar
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    Charities - I'm opting out for a while

    In the last couple of years I've become more and more questionable about charities and their impact on good causes. The streets are full of charity shops in every town and city you visit, TV and media is awash with adverts for "donate £2/month" and the vast number of people employed in this so called 'third sector' is astonishing, I believe there are almost a million people in the UK alone employed in charities. It's becoming a monster and the only lasting improvements I see come from government funded schemes as opposed to local charitable efforts.

    I'm working with youth sports at the moment (coaching and mentoring) and I'm putting about 5hours a week into that which involves interactions with disadvantaged young lads. I now believe my time is far far more valuable than any monies I put in.

    I'm cancelling 2 standing orders (to two large health charities) and I'm going to withdraw from donations for a year or so, I think I'm funding an industry as opposed to funding any good cause so I need to reconsider this.

    I'd be interested to hear if anyone has had similar thoughts and came to any interesting conclusions ?

  2. #2
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    I do sometimes wonder whether our monies reach where we want it to go. I think it's healthy for us to challenge and question that, holding charities to account. I believe I should be able to contact a charity, asking such questions, and someone should be able to provide me with answers pretty effortlessly. I might give it a go.

    Having also given my time to junior sport I agree that time is far more valuable than money in a lot of instances.

  3. #3
    Master brigant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TaketheCannoli View Post
    I do sometimes wonder whether our monies reach where we want it to go. I think it's healthy for us to challenge and question that, holding charities to account. I believe I should be able to contact a charity, asking such questions, and someone should be able to provide me with answers pretty effortlessly. I might give it a go.

    Having also given my time to junior sport I agree that time is far more valuable than money in a lot of instances.

    I stopped contributing to big charities a long time ago when I found out how much their management got paid.

  4. #4
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    Been donating to Cancer charity for years, same amount by direct debit every month.

    Had a telephone call out the blue from them trying to get me to increase my direct debit. In the course of our conversation it transpired that this was clearly a independent telesales team being paid commission on any extra revenue they generated.

    Was absolutely disgusted, told them what I thought and was tempted but didn’t cancel my direct debit.

  5. #5
    Grand Master Mr Curta's Avatar
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    There are charities and charities. Innumerable lives have been saved by organisations like Médecins Sans Frontières, Cancer Research and Samaritans and they wouldn't survive without donations. They do need to attract the right skills and advertise effectively. Not everybody with the expertise they need will give their time for free. Charities should publish how their funds are dispersed, do your research and also look at things like GiveWell, and make an informed decision.
    Inform - Educate - Entertain

  6. #6
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    Cliff Richard was asked many years ago how much he gave to charity - his reply was "I give 10% of my time"

  7. #7
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    Some years ago I looked up the outgoings of a well know animal charity, they used to have to list such details on their website.
    They were paying three vets £90,000 per year for consultation work. The same charity built a new place near my work that cost £5 million.
    They regularly run radio adverts asking for people to help run their centres, voluntarily, often at weekends, including nights.
    All left a sour taste.
    The sad thing is many small charities have lost funding over the last few years. My niece worked for a small charity in south London supporting young people, they did great work in the local community, really made a difference, changed lives, saved lives. But they had to cut the number of staff due to funding cuts.

  8. #8
    Master
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    Two ex paras I know in my local are similarly scathing about Help for Heroes. They cite the amount spent on wages for the founding couple, fancy buildings, foreign trips etc. All legal and within the rules, but apparently pushed right to the limits.
    The two guys I know spend many weekends of their time helping out veterans with problems directly, communicating through facebook and whatsapp etc groups instead.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by brigant View Post
    I stopped contributing to big charities a long time ago when I found out how much their management got paid.
    Same here...i checked out what they were paying the CEO of a number of the charities i was helping out and it was disgraceful.

  10. #10
    I stopped years ago. Very dubious about how much actually ends up with the causes / people that need it.y parents came from a third world country and I have relatives there so donate directly to them who then pass on to those who need it.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by brigant View Post
    I stopped contributing to big charities a long time ago when I found out how much their management got paid.

    Exactly this. Such a shame because quite clearly they need donations to function, but I feel like over the last few years they have rapidly become "business" than charity.
    I support a lot of local charities and foundations where I can (Bolton Hospice is the main one), and I do what I can to help local childcare, training and extra-curricular clubs. That's where I am comfortable.

    Not to knock the forum fundraiser, we have chosen some superb charities to support over the years and the personalised thank-you letters Eddie has posted do genuinely make a huge difference to my own view of these smaller charities - it clearly makes a difference to them. The bigger ones though, Cancer Research, Oxfam, British Heart etc, if I donate to them then it's really just because I need to clear out a load of clothes the kids have grown out of and feel bad about tipping them.

  12. #12
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    As a business we support local charities where we know the money goes to good use. For example a friend of mine is a Doctor and he runs a charity taking poorly children (quite often with life limiting conditions) on holiday. Their families couldn’t do it due to the expertise and care needed. It’s a one off life changing experience for these children and a very worthy cause.

    When I was in Round Table we used to do a lot of fundraising with a carol float at Christmas and we’d all discuss where to give the money raised, so we felt it was going to the right people.

    My father in law died a few years ago so I shaved my hair for charity and raised quite a few thousand. Half of it went nationally to brave the shave. The other half went to the local cancer unit where he’d had excellent care. We made sure they bought what they needed.

    Oh and I try and support any posters on here who are putting themselves out to raise money. People that ‘do’ deserve support.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ruggertech View Post
    Two ex paras I know in my local are similarly scathing about Help for Heroes. They cite the amount spent on wages for the founding couple, fancy buildings, foreign trips etc. All legal and within the rules, but apparently pushed right to the limits.
    The two guys I know spend many weekends of their time helping out veterans with problems directly, communicating through facebook and whatsapp etc groups instead.
    Help for hero’s has become so big and well known that many smaller charities that support ex forces personnel have suffered income decline. I’ve even heard of events where once help four hero’s have confirmed attendance other smaller charities have declined as it wouldn’t be worth their while.

  14. #14
    Master
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    Well that was a brave thing to say online, maybe just help out with food banks or something in your free time. They would love you turning up

  15. #15
    Master
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    I saw an article a few years ago and I was astonished how little gets through to the front line.

    https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/metro...6m-519721/amp/

    I also had a friend who used to door knock to get people to sign up for the £2 a month and he received £35 for everyone he got!
    The company he worked where paid a commission on it too. Do it will be at least 3 years before the charity sees any money.

    https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/www.t...-minister/amp/

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Essexman View Post
    I’ve even heard of events where once help four hero’s have confirmed attendance other smaller charities have declined as it wouldn’t be worth their while.
    Wow, thats pretty shocking.

  17. #17
    Grand Master wileeeeeey's Avatar
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    Apart from the Air Ambulance I don't give to any large charities anymore. I think you can give more than just money and I'm a big fan of giving blood, old bicycles, clothes and laptops/iPads etc.

    I don't give to charity shops, I give to the church/mosque instead and when giving money there is usually someone you know who is hard up or not having the time of their life. Many office cleaners are on zero hour contracts via agencies with seriously poor net pay and the same commute costs as everyone else and probably still trying to overcome the unpaid office closures.

    A guy I know gives a decent whack to his local butcher once per year and says to put it towards meat for the people who come in weekly looking for scraps or bones etc who are clearly hard up. Works well for him.

  18. #18
    Well worth looking at Mary’s Meals to see the accounts. Great charity along with Children 1st local to me.

  19. #19
    Craftsman Halitosis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brigant View Post
    I stopped contributing to big charities a long time ago when I found out how much their management got paid.
    Agreed. The Salvation Army is a notable exception where (last time I looked) even their Chief Exec was an unsalaried volunteer. There are websites out there that measure the effectiveness of charities and one with the greatest impact is http://www.direct.giving.org where donations are actually given to families who know best what to spend it on. Interestingly a large chunk goes on educating their children, with the next highest spend on livestock and seed.

  20. #20
    The only charity donations I make is in the form of sponsorship of individuals who are doing something for a good cause.

  21. #21
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    I volunteer with three charities and over the year this adds up in terms of time and associated costs to me.
    I don't donate money to any charity on a regular basis, although I do put a few quid in pots etc when out and about for charities that mean something to me.

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  22. #22
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    the big commercial ones which sign you up in the street etc take well over a year until your donations actually go to where they are needed. Vast overheads etc.

  23. #23
    Master jukeboxs's Avatar
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    +1 for Mary's Meals, great charity, I worked with the Chair for many years. You need to choose your charities carefully. We'll continue giving our 10%.

  24. #24
    Master
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    I don’t like a lot of charity’s either I once applied for a handyman’s job and what they expected was ridiculous for the pay when I asked wether their top managers were doing 3 peoples jobs for the price of one they declined to answer.

    my mate had a relative that worked for the rnib that turned up in her new bmw company car when he asked what the people donating money would think about it and couldn’t she have got something cheaper she said she deserved it because she works hard.

    On the other hand I donated £400 to a local animal charity that are very poor and took my mums cats when she died they got £175 from an Easter fund raiser they did I know were I prefer my money to go,
    It seems from the big charity’s I know they seem to expect everyone to work for free up to a certain level then pay everyone above that very well indeed for what they do

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by wileeeeeey View Post
    Apart from the Air Ambulance I don't give to any large charities anymore. I think you can give more than just money and I'm a big fan of giving blood, old bicycles, clothes and laptops/iPads etc.

    I don't give to charity shops, I give to the church/mosque instead and when giving money there is usually someone you know who is hard up or not having the time of their life. Many office cleaners are on zero hour contracts via agencies with seriously poor net pay and the same commute costs as everyone else and probably still trying to overcome the unpaid office closures.

    A guy I know gives a decent whack to his local butcher once per year and says to put it towards meat for the people who come in weekly looking for scraps or bones etc who are clearly hard up. Works well for him.

    I am the same I bought 3 sewing machines for a village in Bangladesh last year through a mosque
    And the year before donated towards the building of a school there too.

    When my son was christened we asked for cash and donated it to the church food charity where they where christened

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Curta View Post
    There are charities and charities. Innumerable lives have been saved by organisations like Médecins Sans Frontières, Cancer Research and Samaritans and they wouldn't survive without donations. They do need to attract the right skills and advertise effectively. Not everybody with the expertise they need will give their time for free. Charities should publish how their funds are dispersed, do your research and also look at things like GiveWell, and make an informed decision.
    As I was reading this an ad for Medecins sans frontieres popped up below!

  27. #27
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    Race for life is an absolute racket. Not one penny of the entry fees goes to fund research. They blag venues, blag goodwill, convince people to run for them and then harass them for sponsor money. Covid's scuppered them this year though.

    The selling of Gold Bond places at London Marathon has been pretty suspect as well, they used to cost charities about £550 and then the less scrupulous charities would harass and threaten runners who didn't hit the agreed target, usually £2000-2500. Some pretty big ones too.

  28. #28
    Master TimeThoughts's Avatar
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    Just to add to the OP here...

    I see a lot of specific illness type charities (charities established to either increase awareness or attempt to assist/deal with specific diseases or disabilities).
    I'd really rather see the NHS deal with these matters than hundreds of charities stepping in with their own overheads and strategies on these matters.

    I believe charities involved in foreign catastrophic aid (like famines in Africa) are really questionable and are providing a drop in the ocean. In those situations the UN or similar MultiNational bodies are needed.

    The one that raised my eyebrow a couple of years back was a local student here fundraising to go to Asia to help build a village school. I'm really uncertain about the viability of untrained young people getting others to fund their trips into the third world. There has to be a better way than that ?

  29. #29
    Master Templogin's Avatar
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    Is there also something to the old adage of poor people in rich countries giving to rich people in poor countries?

    I have given my time to charities in the past, and agree with comments above that a lot of people are giving their time for free, whilst those above are coining it in.

    The most useful charity outside of the UK that I gave to was a provided wells for rural communities. They even built a school for one of the villages. It was a very small charity that used to get some money in, employ a builder out there to build a bit more of the school, then fundraise again to be able to build a bit more. The charity organisers didn't take a penny, and all their costs getting out to Africa were self funded. Very admirable.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by TimeThoughts View Post
    In the last couple of years I've become more and more questionable about charities and their impact on good causes. The streets are full of charity shops in every town and city you visit, TV and media is awash with adverts for "donate £2/month" and the vast number of people employed in this so called 'third sector' is astonishing, I believe there are almost a million people in the UK alone employed in charities. It's becoming a monster and the only lasting improvements I see come from government funded schemes as opposed to local charitable efforts.

    I'm working with youth sports at the moment (coaching and mentoring) and I'm putting about 5hours a week into that which involves interactions with disadvantaged young lads. I now believe my time is far far more valuable than any monies I put in.

    I'm cancelling 2 standing orders (to two large health charities) and I'm going to withdraw from donations for a year or so, I think I'm funding an industry as opposed to funding any good cause so I need to reconsider this.

    I'd be interested to hear if anyone has had similar thoughts and came to any interesting conclusions ?
    Having spent the better part of the last two weeks trying to find away to better spend 8 hrs in 168 hours to put 20 years on my life span someone who donates that time per week can only be charitable.

    Great post OP

  31. #31
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    I once worked for a music academy that had a 'charity' status. When I was asked not to name them in my accounts it became obvious that this was just a tax scam.

    Regarding charities, my mother regularly throws money at every begging letter that comes through her door, particularly if it's got 'Christian' in the title.

    I contribute to 'Compassion In World Farming. They are doing excellent work to help reduce unnecessary suffering.

  32. #32
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    I used to think Barnado’s was an excellent charity but was put off by this:

    https://www.barnardos.org.uk/blog/wh...de-for-parents

    which is full of biased, selective and just plain incorrect sweeping generalisations.

  33. #33
    just a couple from my experience:-

    When I was a student I got roped into doing some silver service work at a london hotels, anyway I worked and evening and this huge event if my memory serves me well it was save the children. Anyway afterwards I went to the bar to have a drink and (as i was 19) meet the nice ladies in cocktail dresses. When i ordered my drink I was asked if i was part of the event and I explained I was staff (hoping for a discount) as I was trying to get over the hernia inducing amount of cash I'd had to hand over for a beer, i started chatting to some of the people at the event. They explained the event was to celebrate them hitting their fund raising goal and this was their reward, I was then asked if I would like a drink and never liking to turn down an opportunity I said yes but weirdly she didn't pay, I asked her about this and she explained it was a free bay paid for by the charity, in fact the entire event had been free, it was their reward. I asked then who was paying then and was told the money came out of the money they had just raised. I was clearly in a full roger more with a raised eyebrow when I asked really. She then very patiently explained they were allowed to spend a percentage (i can't remember if it was 40 or 60%) of the money raised on the way they raised the money. I remember looking out and realising why despite being a medical student this maybe the drunkest collection of people i'd ever seen. So i asked how were they going to get home, but was reassured it wasn't a problem as they were all staying in the hotel as part of the package. The thing that really made my jaw hit the floor was the free raffle they had for everyone there, first price was a car!

    The other one was 20 years later when i was qualified and had been flying around the world repatriating patients, i brought this GP back from Africa who'd had a pnuemothorax on a charity bike ride. A few months later the company that organised these events invited me to come and speak about the problems of flying patients and afterwards gave me a list of charity events they were organising around the world and asked if i fancied going on to provide medical cover, now some of them were serious events, overseas for 3 weeks that kind of thing. I explained i couldn't afford it, but again was told, oh you don't pay, you're the doctor, you get to do the fun event, you're there in case of an emergency, all free of charge business class flights, daily expenses and an honorarium, again when I asked where the money came from- all out of the money raised by the event.

    There seems to be a model where the charities aim to get bigger each year, but surely if they're doing their job they should be smaller each year and eventually no longer need to exist.

  34. #34
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by David_D View Post
    I used to think Barnado’s was an excellent charity but was put off by this:

    https://www.barnardos.org.uk/blog/wh...de-for-parents

    which is full of biased, selective and just plain incorrect sweeping generalisations.
    Thanks for the heads up on that one. I do give to charities occasionally so that's useful info.

  35. #35
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    I did some work for operation raleigh back in the day, and I quickly realised that there are an awful lot of people earning a very nice living, or having an exceptional social life solely funded by people who thought their donations would make a difference.

    Give locally, it really can make a difference. Sure there are charlatans in all walks of life - but if you donate locally you should be able to see what they are actually doing with your hard earned.

  36. #36
    Master vRSG60's Avatar
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    I’m still waiting for the Snow Leopard I sponsored. I’ve built a run for it and everything.


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  37. #37
    Master TimeThoughts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by David_D View Post
    I used to think Barnado’s was an excellent charity but was put off by this:

    https://www.barnardos.org.uk/blog/wh...de-for-parents

    which is full of biased, selective and just plain incorrect sweeping generalisations.
    Just read that page. That's a disgraceful piece of writing. Thanks for pointing that out.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Linocut View Post
    The selling of Gold Bond places at London Marathon has been pretty suspect as well, they used to cost charities about £550 and then the less scrupulous charities would harass and threaten runners who didn't hit the agreed target, usually £2000-2500. Some pretty big ones too.
    A pet peeve of mine is those who take up charity places for sporting feats and have to raise a minimum sponsorship.

    They generally pay nothing, or very little, and a significant part of what they collect simply pays off the cost of their place in the event.

    My son and I did a London to Paris cycle a few years ago. Between us we paid around £1600 to a company for a fully supported ride, accommodation etc and raised money for charity as a side issue.

    I wouldn’t expect sponsors to pay to allow me to do something I enjoy.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by TimeThoughts View Post
    Just read that page. That's a disgraceful piece of writing. Thanks for pointing that out.
    Isn’t it just! Tried to email the trustees with my views but couldn’t find addresses. It’s just the deliberate and highly selective use of statistics that is so transparent and reprehensible.

    Quote Originally Posted by monogroover View Post
    Thanks for the heads up on that one. I do give to charities occasionally so that's useful info.
    I used to send them some money at Christmas but sadly no more if that’s the kind of thing they are pushing.

  40. #40
    If you've kids, donate time into their school. Fundraising, help etc. You see first hand the benefits of your time and effort. Good for the soul and makes their learning experience better.

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  41. #41
    Craftsman Chewitt13's Avatar
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    What annoys me most nowadays are how rubbish most of the challenges are, dry Jan, movember etc, it used to be hard!!! That's why people sponsored you, marathon, 5 marathons in a week not a really slow 10k !!!! I'm not a runner but pretty certain I could run 10k tomorrow morning if I felt like it.

    Is really not drinking booze for a month worth sponsorship

    One of the mums at school is business development manager at clan, she drives a brand new F pace.......

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  42. #42
    Master vRSG60's Avatar
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    Sponsored my ride through India.
    You pay my way and any extra goes to a “charity” , these seem popular.


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  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chewitt13 View Post

    Is really not drinking booze for a month worth sponsorship



    Sent from my Pixel 5 using Tapatalk

    It would be for me!

  44. #44
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    Like many here I have my doubts about some of the big charities…highly paid makers and less than exemplary records on the ground.

    In my view there’s a lot to be said for donating time - I do work for a local sports club - mostly managing finances etc 3-4 hours a week.

    My wife works for a local cancer charity as an administrator. Since March 2020 she has worked unpaid since the charity’s income has all but disappeared due to Covid

  45. #45
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    I’ve felt this way for many years now but I’m still continually surprised at the reaction I get when I voice my opinion. People seem genuinely shocked when I refuse to sponsor them or when I refuse to give to a collection for one of the more well known charities.

  46. #46
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    What I find very sinister is the way information is shared. In 2006 my father died in the local hospice who did a great job of looking after him at the end. My sister and I made a generous donation, which was the right thing to do. However, after a few months we started getting cold calls from various charities asking us to make a generous donation; one in particular referred to prostate cancer, a condition my father suffered with (amongst others) at the end of his life. When challenged as to how they'd got my details they were reluctant to tell me, but the word 'lists' was mentioned. When I contacted the Hospice they wouldn't admit they'd shared information but they didn`t deny it either.

    Rightly or wrongly I`ve made no further donations to the local Hospice, I suspect they sold lists of names who've donated above a certain threshold and that's how the cold calls to me originated.

  47. #47
    Master Yorkshiremadmick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ruggertech View Post
    Two ex paras I know in my local are similarly scathing about Help for Heroes. They cite the amount spent on wages for the founding couple, fancy buildings, foreign trips etc. All legal and within the rules, but apparently pushed right to the limits.
    The two guys I know spend many weekends of their time helping out veterans with problems directly, communicating through facebook and whatsapp etc groups instead.
    Yep exactly Help for Heroes is not Worth it.
    “Soldiers off the Streets@ is far better.


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  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by vRSG60 View Post
    I’m still waiting for the Snow Leopard I sponsored. I’ve built a run for it and everything.
    They delivered the bloody thing here.
    Cost a fortune to get it stuffed.

  49. #49
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    There seems to be far too many charities spending disproportionately on both admin/salaries and/or political campaigning. The whole sector needs looking at.

    Suffice to say I don't trust any major charity any more - I've looked at a couple of small local charities, satified myself of their probity and donate time and money to them.

  50. #50
    Master Templogin's Avatar
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    Oct 2015
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tifa View Post
    They delivered the bloody thing here.
    Cost a fortune to get it stuffed.
    I suspect that it was less than pleased by this

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