Sunday, 8 September 2013

Charity Begins at Home?

Recently it has come out that a number of well known British charities pay their CEOs 100k salaries and in some cases well over this.  For someone who has given to a number of charities over the years, this has come as a bit of a shock but not that much of a surprise to be honest.  It seems that there is always a way to find high wages for the people at the top and in the middle of most organisations, but the wages at the bottom always seem to be low.  Equally, it seems that many positions in charities are also volunteer ones, so it’s fine for a Working class person to stand around on the street rattling tins in people’s faces and not get paid but somehow if the person is from a more affluent background then high wages must be paid.  I have to say that this kind of thing angers me and upsets me for a number of reasons.  Firstly, I have given to a number of charities many times before today and I do not like the idea that money has gone to pay the often very high salaries of people working in an industry that by its very nature is about redistributing wealth to those in genuine need.  Secondly, my idea of charity is certainly not keeping affluent usually privileged Middle class people in foreign holidays, piano lessons and private tuition for their kids and living in an exclusive suburb with a four wheel drive in the garage.  Thirdly, again charity now seems another business that affords professional people a good living and the rest of us without connections have the ‘privilege’ of volunteering with the vague hope, if that, of getting some form of probably low paid employment at some future date.  Of course this doesn’t seem to happen to those in the middle ranking and high end jobs, where wages seem to be very good.  Fourthly, my worries are like many people who feel that if large chunks of money given openly and freely and out of the generosity of often many ordinary people are going in high wages and expense accounts, just how much is actually going to the people who are supposed to be the actual recipients of it in the first place?  And fifthly and finally, how different then is the ‘business’ of charity compared to banking, law, the media, politics, business and many other institutions that are a part of the economic and social infrastructure of Britain?  I don’t see a great deal of difference in any of them now in that wages are very high at the top and afford an affluent lifestyle to those in the middle, but almost always are low waged at the bottom with the added emphasis now of volunteering being often the first option for getting on the first rung of the ladder.  Who does this benefit?  It benefits the people in the middle and the top at the expense of the people at the bottom.  Does this really surprise anyone, if they are being completely honest?  Even charity then now is just another form of easy money that isn’t always being used for what many generous givers think it is being used for.


Does this sound like I am bitter and envious and angry?  Well you’re right, I am all of the above and many more and I feel that many more people are too, for many reasons but mainly because somehow affluent people always seem to remain affluent even in institutions that are supposed to be about redistributing wealth from the haves and wealthy, to the have-nots and poor.  It is not even the fact that there are people who will get more than someone else perhaps because they have more responsibility and do a job that requires more skill or education, it is that there are many skilled Working class people with good educations and degrees now and often we don’t get a look in, it is always someone from an already affluent background going on to get a good job whilst the rest of us have to make do with what’s left over. 

I have said this before as well, but I have noticed that many equal rights organisations purporting to fight for fairness and justice are almost always top heavy with privileged Middle class people as well, who seem to always be speaking on behalf of the rest of us not so lucky and privileged but we are deemed not good enough to speak for ourselves and consequently from what I have seen of many such organisations there is nary a Working class person or any kind of person who has endured real poverty or struggle amongst them.  Henceforth, the people who get the good jobs in these organisations are usually Middle class and don’t really know anything about poverty or real struggle.  It also means that it becomes a business, a profession, and far less about actually trying to change things.  I feel that such organisations tacitly and very carefully keep Working class people and poor people out of them because such a person would see much of what passes for those organisations as a sham and just another Middle class talking shop and not much more.  I did actually write to a number of equal rights organisations a while back asking among other things why they curiously enough never mentioned class as an issue when all other prejudices were mentioned.  Only one actually wrote back to me, and when I replied they never bothered after that.  I thought that considering they were organisations purporting to be fighting for equal rights they didn’t really respect my rights at all.  To be honest, I expected them not to get back to me.  I feel that class is one of the major issues in Britain and yet it is both subtly downplayed and constantly ignored by the affluent Middle classes so they can use it to their advantage in the same way they pretend to be interested in Black rights and minority rights and because the Middle class, as we all know, benefit from the unfairness inherent in the system.

My conclusion then is that privileged and affluent people, although some are concerned about poverty and try to make a difference, most do not and even those who claim to do so actually don’t which makes them look dishonest and disingenuous, especially if someone is saying one thing but doing something else.  I would even say this kind of this is prevalent to a degree in organised religion where people get a good position because they are educated and whether they are genuinely Christians or not seems to be less important.  It then becomes like a business, where the actual message is not important but where the only thing that matters is just keeping the organisation going.  Is it any wonder that many of us feel disillusioned with so many things?

As Christians, we know that the world although on the surface appears fair and just and that good people act for the betterment of us all, that the reality is that the world is at best unjust, unfair, riven with all kinds of divisions and every kind of unfairness and that sometimes bad, uncaring and unscrupulous people rise and decent people with morals and consideration and compassion for others get sidelined, marginalised and even ignored.  I don’t say everyone who prospers is bad however, that would be unfair and untrue, nor do I claim that everyone who is poor or struggling financially or in some other way is automatically a suffering saint either, because that would equally be naïve and untrue as well.  But that at times the world is much more likely to be an unjust place than a just one.  Your uprightness is too great, Yahweh, for me to dispute with you. But I should like to discuss some points of justice with you: Why is it that the way of the wicked prospers? Why do all treacherous people thrive?  (Jeremiah 12:1 NJB)


  1. Hi Tim,
    you are one hundred percent right in what you are saying here. My husband and myself visited a 'Forties weekend' last Saturday where there were lots of charity tables for the ex servicemen who had been injured. We were told by 'Save our soldiers' people (one of the charities we felt led to donate to) that 'Help for heroes' was run by a family in which not only both parents were paid a massive amount each annually but some of their children also received a large annual wage. This is why I am usually careful when I donate to charities. I investigated years ago all the statistics of charity 'bosses' payments when I used to volunteer for one of them and it was a real eye opener. I will have to do an investigate update I think. If you look at the end of Jeremiah 12, there is a different perspective on whether the wicked will prosper or not.

  2. A brilliant and well thought out post.
    And it's good to see you back on this site again. I hope all is well with you.
    God bless.

  3. Hi Tim,

    My husband and I don't give to a charity because we support many missions with our church many in community soup houses and such. I agree with what you said here that most often the money goes into the pockets of the big wigs. But, how does one help those in say Syria? Or say hurricane victims? Sometimes I think in order to get food, clothing and medical supplies to those in under privileged countries, we might just need to take the plunge and support. God is watching and He will deal with those who are not just or overly greedy. I do fear what God will say of me when I meet Him. Did I feed the hungry and take care of the orphans? Even if money given does not make it to those in need then I can say that yes, I did give.

    Good post Tim, thanks for sharing your thoughts.


  4. Hi Tim I did notice the high salaries paid to the top men, I was told once that they needed to compete with other companies to recruit the best salesmen...I am not convinced at all. I choose very carefully the charities I support, Gospel for Asia, Open Doors and Tearfund, and also other missions.Thanks for a very good read.
    Have a blessed week-end. Nicky

  5. I have gotten so weary about wealthy people. 99.9% of them don't care, to me that's the bottom line. I am sick of their disingenuous commercials on tv talking about things like call this number and help this child in africa when there are people in their own backyard who they stroll by everyday. people like to appear as though they are kind, it makes them feel good to boast about their charity. They get tax cuts I hear and that's why pretty much every celeb has a charity, that I doubt they even keep up to date with in regards to see were their funds are being allocated to.

    It's all a sham to be honest. I think it's best people just give to those they see in need directly instead of trusting in charities to do that for us.

    Here is what really, quite frankly, pisses me off, all those telethon type things celebs have after some natural disaster or tragedy happens. They have people call in and give money and I know that money does not get to those people. Most charities are scams. When the earthquake happend in haiti, which we could say is the earthquake heard around the world because it got so much media coverage on tv and so much money got donated to some unknown charity or whatever, it has been years now and those people are still living like African refugees under tents or some type of tarp.

    Some structures I think have been erected but considering the millions, possibly billions of dollars donated, that's enough money to subsidize the needs of an entire third world country, where did it go, where is the evidence it got to people. I hate it all. I already knew that the people running charities make tons of money becuase I saw an expose about it. People who say they are Christian have jumped on this bandwagon as well. They have been endorsing charities to help people but I honestly doubt they're much different form the other frauds, Ananias and Sapphira are an example of people who say they are believers and who gave to help others but truly kept some of the funds back to themselves and we know what happened to them. Most people just go to these overseas countries and use their trip as photo op's to say they were to Africa or wherever and they always find a group of eager black children who will never see the photo they take, to take a pic with then they return to their clean homes and really never check for those people again.

    It's sad that even something as noble as charity has become perverted by the greedy, who truly don't care about the poor, just their own bellies. We must remember there is a just God who hears the cry of His people and He will avenge each and everyone.