I make no apology about returning to the issues faced by small charities in the UK – this is where the core of Minerva’s work exists.
I have drawn attention in the past to the short straws sometimes drawn by small charities at the hands of trusts and foundations, corporate donors – and even individuals.
However, I was not expecting the Charity Commission to show any bias against small charities – the Commission is both the regulator and guardian for small, medium and large charities alike. I was therefore astonished to read a report by Charles Moore in the Daily Telegraph about the Commission’s treatment of Alfs Humanitarian Aid CIO, a small Hertford-based charity founded last month which has been successful in raising funds and materials – including an ambulance – for people in the Ukraine.
Despite this noble task, the Commission has apparently advised Alfs against continuing its work, suggesting instead that it should channel its efforts through large charities. This somehow implies that large charities will be more efficient and cost-effective than small ones like Alfs – when experience in recent years has often shown the opposite to be the case.
The work of small charities in the UK has had a beneficial effect on needy groups and individuals in this country as well as in the Commonwealth and in foreign countries. We should all hope that in the future the Charity Commission celebrates the role of small charities here and overseas, rather than indulging in facile criticism of their efforts.