Moral index for charities?

How does one go about measuring the morality of a charity?

Chief executive Martin Brookes from New Philanthropy is now (what amazing timing!) calling for charities to be ranked, in a similar fashion to universities, based on their social benefit. [Civil Society]

In theory, I see the arguement for helping donors ensure that their money will contribute to the highest impact, however, I’m just not sure its going to have the desired effect.

To begin with, smaller charities will struggle, particularly amongst funding cuts as severe as what we are currently seeing, to be able to find the time and resources to assess their social benefit against what will no doubt be a long, arduous process. Favoritism will fall naturally to those charities with enough funding to first assess, and then adjust and re-assess.

It’s true that making life easier to potential donors will encourage philanthropy, but we will also be making it harder for organisations who have less to be able to continue to act prosocially.

This index of morality strikes me as a way of increasing competition, a business model – isn’t that in a lot of ways what is WRONG with our education system? Doesn’t anyone else feel like we’ve lost the essence of what is important about education? And now we’re suggesting that we do the same with charities?

What is the essence of a charity?

I believe that charities are the heart and soul of humanity. Charities stand for ideals and beliefs, to push societies forward. They are what remind us of the essence of being alive.

Inherent in this position in society, charities are idealistic, and often times naive, hence why they often struggle to survive. And why they should fight to retain their essence.

So on first pass, my vote would be to steer clear of a moral index for charities – though I’m not opposed to charities receiving help to measure their real social benefit!


~ by Jen C. on 13/10/2010.

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