The Festive and giving season is over and we are into the New Year and its resolutions.
Two happenings now occur. The telephone stops ringing and the post stops delivering appeals from charities. If you listen carefully you can hear 2016 resolutions being broken all over Canberra.
What these two occurrences have in common is that neither has to be unsuccessful, because if our local charities resolved to combine their efforts on behalf of those they want to help the public response could be better and a New Year resolution would be achieved.
Like many people I am tired of telephone calls at inconvenient times seeking a donation and my letter box – despite the No Junk Mail request – is the repository of glossy begging letters.
I know many are not among our 500 licenced ACT charities, a particular source of irritation to some would-be donors, but some are and it seems the ACT could set an example to the rest of Australia by coordinating our charitable efforts. We are, after all, a small compact city/state capable of identifying the problems and recognising what needs to be done. We also have the advantage our charitable personnel know each other.
Apart from the obvious benefits of pooling resources and reducing administration costs our local charities could benefit by selling themselves as a single compassionate unit.
At present we have a disparate and large group of well-meaning organisations who by their very competitiveness through phone and mail campaigns discourage giving and raise suspicions as to where donations go. A situation encouraged by a lack of public accountability. When did you last see a published audited annual balance sheet for a charity to which you donated?
Certain health or social circumstances attract more interest and thus support than other concerns but these also are subject to popular whim, therefore threatening the basis of charity itself and its fundamental purpose.
Nobody reading these comments will be blind to a problem with amalgamating charities no matter how sympathetic to the poor, disadvantaged or health stricken in our society all these well-meaning people are.
Empires. Who is prepared to abdicate? To give up their position?
Yet this reluctance is another reason for suspicion. No matter how many declarations are made about how little is spent upon administration people look at the number of charities and ask how much do they all cost to run?
Could this be a 2016 resolution?