Category Archives: Admin costs

We tried to update our analysis of charities’ performance and their admin costs, and you won’t BELIEVE what happened next!

Many people believe that charities waste money on ‘administration’, and hence that the best charities spend little on administration. A strong form of this view is that the best charities are by definition those which spend little on administration, i.e., you … Continue reading

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Try not to judge a charity by its admin costs alone

Producing the kind of data donors would like is hard and expensive, but not impossible This article first published in the Financial Times in October 2017. We kept overheads low, boasts Camila Batmanghelidjh in her book published last week  about … Continue reading

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Good charities spend more on administration than less good charities spend

Ground-breaking analysis by Giving Evidence disproves the popular idea that charities should spend less on administration. This is the first analysis which shows (doesn’t just argue) that high-performing charities spend more on administration costs than weaker ones do. {Report here. The … Continue reading

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Why I’m delighted to join the advisory panel of Charity Navigator

Charity Navigator is the world’s largest charity ‘ratings agency’, providing online ratings of 6,000 US-based charities which are used by over 3million donors each year. It’s also the sole organisation slagged off in my book about how donors can best … Continue reading

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Publicising charities’ admin spend would be a disaster

This first appeared in The Guardian, and is co-authored with Kurt Hoffman, DIrector of the Institute of Philanthropy Joe Saxton suggested last month that charities must do more to explain their finances but it’s charities’ results that matter. The public don’t know … Continue reading

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Application and reporting processes keep 3m children out of school

Avoidable waste from foundations’ reporting processes is ~£100m every year, enough to fund the whole of Barnardo’s or the British Red Cross. Another ~£150-250m is wasted in reporting to public sector funders, plus there’s plenty of avoidable waste in application … Continue reading

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WaterAid: what are you thinking of?

Millions of Thames Water customers have this week received leaflets from WaterAid containing this: WaterAid should know better. This graph perpetuates the dangerous lie that charities’ spending on governance and fundraising is somehow separate from ‘work on charitable objectives’. They’re not: … Continue reading

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Who’s not applying themselves? Donors need to know

Writing and publishing a book which should improve charitable giving I figured made me a social entrepreneur. I needed money – all that editing and design doesn’t come cheap – so I approached UnLtd, the fund for social entrepreneurs set … Continue reading

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Government fund scores new low for charitable funding

Forty three failures for every success. Is the government’s Social Action Fund – which ostensibly helps charities – trying to challenge the National Lottery for startling low probabilities? It would be funny if only it weren’t tragic and irresponsible. And … Continue reading

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How should advice on charitable giving be priced?

Answer: In a way that aligns the advisor’s incentives with those of the beneficiary. But which way does that? Along with many others, I’m often asked to advise donors about finding good charities to support and/or strategies to make their … Continue reading

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