Why I choose to not support charities like Sport Relief

What charities a person does or doesn’t choose to support is a personal decision and I’m not about to tell people what they should do. Heaven forbid I ever did that. It would confuse the children, who think they’re in charge, for starters.

This year is a Sport Relief year and there have been a number of high profile initiatives, including Team Honk, to raise money for the charity. I’ve chosen to not support these efforts and not donate money and after some deliberation I’ve decided to set out my reasoning for it.

Sport Relief, like Children in Need, is not a charity that carries out direct charitable work itself. It provides grants and sponsorship to other charities working both in the UK and abroad. This means in the broadest sense, every £1 you give to Sports Relief has a double whammy of cost associated to it. You have Sport Relief initial cost of fundraising and administration (the payroll alone at the Charity Projects charity that covers comic relief and sport relief is £13m on individual donations of £53m) and then on top of this the administration cost of the charity that receives the final donation to spend on the front line.

Simply put, I don’t think middle man donations are an efficient way of giving. That’s not to say it’s wrong to give via this medium, plenty do and the money is put to good use. The fact that Charity Projects generates £6.4m from investing it’s sizeable cash surplus does in some way ameliorate this but to my mind I’d still rather give directly to a front line charity.

Who would I give to?

All of these are front line charities that rely on grants and donations to do their work. Choosing which charities to give to is a personal choice of course and I wouldn’t expect to judge anyone, or indeed be judged myself, on the choice of charitable work somebody is involved with. Over the years I’ve contributed in a number of different ways to charity, ranging from simple donations, to door to door collections, providing my professional skills for free or getting involved in promoting awareness of a cause. That’s how I choose to get involved, you may chose something different.

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