Following the discovery last week that 14 UK charities agreed to increase the salaries of their CEOs despite a fall in donations, charities haven’t been getting great press at the moment. It is little wonder that William Shawcross of the Charity Commission is worried that all the negative publicity surrounding this issue will adversely affect charitable organisations. However, it’s at this point that people must stop and remind themselves of all the good charities do, Dyslexia Scotland being but one of many.
Let’s take Dyslexia Scotland as an example. Without our helpline there are countless people that would not be advised, how to help their children, employees, students and themselves. If the tutor service did not exist it would be more difficult for dyslexics to reach their full potential. These are just two ways in which Dyslexia Scotland endeavours to help people who really need it.
We could not offer either of these services, not to mention the great number of other things we do, without proper direction. This is why the vilification of third sector CEOs in the media, as is currently happening, is terribly wrong.
Instead of demonising them or tarring all those who hold that position with the same brush, consider that the very running of the organisation rests squarely on their shoulders. Whatever happens responsibility lies with them.
Maybe we should think about not just the responsibilities CEOs have, but the obligations the media has to charitable organisations. Because if they take this vendetta too far, they risk charities being unable to do an awful lot of good as a result of character deformation by the media discouraging donations.
Not only is this unfair on hardworking CEOs, but it also disadvantages countless people who may not receive support they desperately need due to lack of funds. If this happens, there are no winners, only losers. And the sad fact is it’s those most in need, charity service users, that risk losing out most of all through no fault of their own.