“Charity reaches rainforest goal.” By Roger Harrabin. BBC News. February 28, 2013. A charity founded to save tropical rainforest the size of Wales has achieved its goal. It has raised £2m in three years to protect over two million hectares of forest, mainly in Africa. “Size of Wales” was founded by Welsh environmentalists annoyed that their country was often used in the media as a comparator to gauge the scale of rainforest destruction. Copycat campaigns are now being discussed in Denmark and Ireland. The project’s organisers say ultimately they’d like to see the people of Europe raise funds to protect an area of rainforest the size of Europe. Many Welsh people appreciated the positive spin placed on typical media phrases like: “A rainforest the size of Wales has been destroyed” or “a rainforest twice the size of Wales has gone”. Scotland and England never seemed to merit such attention.The public chipped in more than £1m and that has been match-funded by a Cardiff-base charitable trust, the Waterloo Foundation.
“Christian schools want fine print of reforms.” By Daniel Hurst. Sydney Morning Herald. March 2, 2013. Christian schools have threatened to withdraw support for Julia Gillard’s education funding reforms if the Prime Minister fails to spell out the effects on individual institutions within one month. Christian Schools Australia also hit out at states looking to go their own way, saying premiers would be disregarding the national interest if they could not agree on a national plan to overhaul school funding. Ms Gillard’s hopes of striking a deal with the states at a meeting with premiers next month have suffered a blow in the past week, with Victoria and Queensland indicating they would develop their own alternative plans. A Senate committee is examining the Gillard government’s legislation designed to pave the way for the Gonski school funding reforms, which would see a set amount of funding allocated for each student to be topped up with ”loadings” recognising disadvantage and disability needs. The chief executive of Christian Schools Australia, Stephen O’Doherty, told the inquiry the sector was being asked to buy into a scheme that was not fully articulated yet, and had shown ”great patience” and ”tremendous goodwill” in its approach up to this point. The Australian Education Union federal president, Angelo Gavrielatos, told the inquiry Ms Gillard’s signature education reforms – set to deliver an extra $6.5 billion in funding to schools each year – were not dead so long as everyone displayed ”a degree of political maturity”. The deputy executive director of the Independent Schools Council of Australia, Barry Wallett, said 900 schools in the independent sector were in a non-systemic arrangement and several hundred of those could lose funding if the Gonski model was implemented in its pure form. The Catholic Education executive director, Stephen Elder, said the Victorian government had done modelling on the Gonski reforms, which showed about 30 per cent of schools would lose money. He said the process had been long and drawn out, and was causing ”enormous anxiety”.
CATHOLIC SEX ABUSE SCANDAL
“Top British Cardinal Faces Accusations of Committing ‘Inappropriate Acts’.” By John F. Burns. New York Times. February 24, 2013. Britain’s most senior Roman Catholic cleric, Cardinal Keith O’Brien, has been accused of committing “inappropriate acts” in his relations with three priests and one former priest, the newspaper The Observer reported Sunday. The accusations, which date back to the 1980s, have been forwarded to the Vatican. The newspaper said the four men had made their complaints to the pope’s diplomatic representative in Britain, Antonio Mennini, and that the complaints had reached Archbishop Mennini in the week before Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation on Feb. 11. The timing of The Observer’s article, which was apparently drawn from church sources with access to the file that Archbishop Mennini had forwarded to Rome, became an immediate focus of attention. The Catholic Church has been besieged during Benedict’s eight years in office by scandals over pedophilia and other forms of sexual abuse by priests. But the time since he announced his decision to retire on the grounds of failing health has been marked by a surge of Italian news media reports, many of them speculative, of gay sex scandals in the Vatican and other allegations of sexual abuse by priests. These reports have been seen by some in the Vatican as intended to harm some contenders for the papacy, or to disqualify some of the cardinals expected to participate in the conclave. Some Vatican experts believe they might also be devised to manufacture a sense of crisis that would encourage the conclave to select a conservative cardinal as the next pope. Cardinal O’Brien, who is set to retire after turning 75 next month, is the only cleric from Britain who will be eligible to vote in the conclave.
“Vatican to investigate top Catholic cleric O’Brien over ‘inappropriate acts’.” Independent. February 24, 2013.
“Backdown as Catholic Church removes priest.” Sydney Morning Herald. February 24, 2013.
“Mahony answers questions under oath about clergy sex abuse cases; The former leader of the Los Angeles Archdiocese was reported to be ‘calm and seemingly collected’ throughout the 3 1/2 hour session stemming from a lawsuit involving a fugitive priest.” Los Angeles Times. February 24, 2013,
“Pope considering response to alleged ‘inappropriate acts’ by UK cardinal; Vatican confirms priests’ written allegations against Cardinal Keith O’Brien have been received and issue is in pontiff’s hands.” Guardian. February 24, 2013.
“Scotland’s archbishop contests “inappropriate behavior” claim.” CNN.com. February 25, 2013.
“Cardinal Keith O’Brien resigns as Archbishop.” BBC News. February 23, 2013.
“Scotland’s Archbishop Steps Down; Cardinal O’Brien Cites Ill Health, Doesn’t Address Abuse Allegations; He Won’t Vote to Pick New Pope.” Wall Street Journal. February 25, 2013.
“Cardinal Keith O’Brien departs with an apology but no admission as Pope forces him out over allegations of inappropriate behaviour; British Catholics reel as details emerge over claims of ‘unwanted advances’ towards clergy.” Independent. February 25, 2013.
“Senior Catholic Cleric Resigns After Allegations Of ‘Inappropriate’ Behavior Philip Reeves and Audie Cornish.” All Things Considered/National Public Radio. February 25, 2013.
“Benedict forced resignation of Britain’s most senior Roman Catholic in attempt to minimise the impact of allegations.” Guardian. February 25, 2013.
“For Cardinal Roger Mahony, social media is a powerful pulpit; Mahony’s online presence has continued to grow via Twitter and a blog, even as church leaders and Catholic groups continue to question his integrity over the sexual abuse.” cases.” Los Angeles Times. February 26, 2013.
“Cardinal Levada: Cardinal Mahony Should Help Select Pope.” Huffington Post. February 26, 2013.
“How next pope must tackle child sex abuse.” By Jeff Anderson. CNN. February 27, 2013
“Revealed: first claim against Cardinal Keith O’Brien; Cardinal Keith O’Brien stepped down with immediate effect on Monday.” Los Angeles Times. March 1, 2013
“Keith O’Brien, British Cardinal, Admits To Sexual Misbehavior.” Huffington Post. March 3, 2013.
“Another temple theft in Kullu, cops clueless as ever.” By Suresh Sharma. Times of India. February 26, 2013. With thieves stealing idols, jewellery and donation boxes in temples without leaving any clue, millionaire deities of Kullu are no longer safe in temples as none of the stolen idols have been recovered in last two years. In yet another theft case, jewellery and donation box from Bhuvaneshwari temple of Kullu was found stolen on Saturday. Though police claim that all activities of thieves were captured by a CCTV camera installed in the temple, no arrest has been made so far. Temple priest Ambika Dutt Sharma said the temple gate was broken and silver ornaments and donation box were found missing. Idols and lingams from three temples have been stolen in a year but thieves are still out of reach of the police. On February 10, 2013, an idol, silver ‘chhatra’ and donation box of Raghunath temple of Garsa were stolen. Idols and jewellery of Takshak Nag of Bhanara village were found stolen in December 2012. A lingam and an idol were stolen from Ghatotkach temple in Manali in October 2012. Similarly, donation box of Siyali Mahadev temple was stolen few years back. Only articles stolen from Nashala temple could be recovered by police in recent years, while two thieves from Punjab were caught red-handed by villagers while stealing the idol of Kali Mata in Neuli village last year. Temples in Kullu are soft targets for thieves as due to the local belief system almost all temples in Kullu remain unlocked 24X7 without much security arrangements. Almost all villages in the valley have at least one temple and many of them have precious ashtadhatu idols and jewellery worth crores of rupees. Only few temples have installed CCTV cameras and their footage too fails to help police due to dark rooms. People here don’t believe in security in temples as it denotes people’s distrust in deities, who are supposed to provide security to its devotees.
“What Happened To The Aid Meant To Rebuild Haiti?” By Jason Beaubien. Morning Edition/National Public Radio. February 28, 2013. After a devastating earthquake hit Haiti in 2010, governments and foundations from around the world pledged more than $9 billion to help get the country back on its feet. Only a fraction of the money ever made it. And Haiti’s President Michel Martelly says the funds aren’t “showing results.” Roughly 350,000 people still live in camps. Many others simply moved back to the same shoddily built structures that proved so deadly during the disaster. Martelly says the relief effort is uncoordinated and projects hatched from good intentions have undermined his government. “We don’t just want the money to come to Haiti. Stop sending money,” he tells Shots. “Let’s fix it,” he says, referring the international relief system.
“Irish Women Emerge From Shadows Of ‘National Shame’.” All Things Considered/National Public Radio. February 24, 2013 1:25 PM. In post-independence Ireland, thousands of women found themselves incarcerated in church-run laundries. For the first time, the state has apologized for their treatment. These women were a diverse group: former prostitutes, unwed mothers, orphans, homeless women, convicts and industrial school transfers put in the care of the Catholic Church. Nuns ran the facilities, known as Magdalene Laundries, on a commercial basis, doing laundry for the state, private companies and individuals. But the inmates were never paid for the work, and all profit went to the church. The first of such places opened in the 1930s, and the last laundry in Ireland closed in 1996. Until last Tuesday, these women never received any official recognition for their years lost in the system. “As a society, for many years we failed you. We forgot you or, if we thought of you at all, we did so in untrue and offensive stereotypes,” said Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny. “This is a national shame, for which I again say, I am deeply sorry and offer my full and heartfelt apologies.”
“British cardinal’s resignation underscores challenge to Catholic Church’s moral authority.” By Anthony Faiola, Washington Post. February 26, 2013. When Prime Minister David Cameron unveiled his plan to legalize same-sex marriage last year, Britain’s highest Roman Catholic cleric took to the national pulpit. Cardinal Keith O’Brien decried a “tyranny of tolerance,” calling gay marriage “grotesque” and saying no secular government had the moral authority to legalize such unions. On Monday, O’Brien, one of the church’s most strident voices against homosexuality, abruptly stepped down amid allegations of “intimate” acts with priests. His fall underscored perhaps the greatest challenge for the Roman Catholic hierarchy as it moves to elect a new pope: regaining its own moral authority. Nowhere is that more true than here in Europe, the continent where the global church is losing the most ground. The taint of scandal here was far fresher than in United States, with a new wave of revelations of sex abuse by European clergy emerging in 2010. Since then, evidence suggests that a long and gradual exodus from Roman Catholic pews has only accelerated, with tens of thousands of Europeans abandoning the faith.
“As it prepares to choose the next Pope, the Catholic Church must atone for the past before trying to shape its future.” Times of London. February 26, 2013. The four men who accused Cardinal Keith O’Brien of behaving inappropriately towards them as young priests have achieved their goal: he has resigned, and will not help to choose the next Pope. In the circumstances this is the right outcome, and Pope Benedict deserves praise for insisting on it.
“Spanish NGO uses blogging to link donors with Latin American recipients
Recession-hit Ayuda en Accion turns to social media in attempt to reverse sharp drop in sponsorship.” Guardian. February 27, 2013. Ayuda en Accion – Spain’s version of ActionAid – was an incongruous participant at a gathering of social media last week in Seville, EBE12. Now in its seventh year, EBE attracts bloggers and technology experts who network and swap ideas on the latest trends. Most participants were in their 20s, many carrying tablets and laptops – notepads and pens were a rarity. Mitchell Baker, chair of the Mozilla Foundation – which promotes openness on the web – was one of the big draws at this year’s event, which ended on a sodden Sunday amid unseasonable sheets of rain. So EBE is not the usual venue for a development NGO. Ayuda en Accion, however, is looking at ways to connect sponsors and beneficiaries in Latin America. It boils down to necessity being the mother of invention. The number of Ayuda en Accion’s sponsors has been falling in recent years and the NGO hopes to use social media to reverse the trend.
“Postgraduate studies will be ‘domain of the wealthy.” By Richard Garner. Independent. February 25, 2013. Postgraduate studies risk becoming the preserve of the wealthy after a major slump in the number of students opting for the courses. Latest figures, obtained through a Parliamentary question, show an 8.5 per cent drop in take up of the courses between 2010/11 and 2011/12. The number of UK graduates opting to go on to further study fell from 171,210 to 156,600. The decline was most marked in the south-west where numbers fell by 20 per cent. In the north-west they fell by around 4,000 (or 16 per cent). Fees for undergraduate courses rose to as much as £9,000 a year last September. The figures, given by Universities Minister David Willetts, prompted a warning that Britain could be at risk of failing to compete on the economic world stage. Gareth Thomas, a Labour MP and a former higher education spokesman for the party, said: “The British economy needs its postgraduates more now than at any time before. “More and more of Britain’s future jobs are going to depend on cutting-edge research, imaginative new technologies and knowledge-based innovation. The drop in postgraduate numbers is a further sign of the crisis in higher education funding.”
“How the voluntary sector can save an overstretched NHS; There should be more discussion around the potential for voluntary organisations to complement the NHS.” By Paul Woodward. Guardian. February 25, 2013. In recent months, we have seen further evidence that some parts of the NHS are overstretched, struggling to cope with financial pressures and are sometimes failing to meet required quality standards. Many voluntary organisations have a detailed understanding of specific local needs, high levels of trust and engagement with local communities and the ability to work across multiple services to provide holistic care for individuals. Partnerships with the voluntary sector can be effective for the NHS, if trusts are open to working with other organisations to build specific services around the needs of their patients. This could enable the NHS to focus on the delivery of wider general services and avoid being overstretched due to the provision of resource-intense specialist care for specific conditions.
“What does professionalism mean in the voluntary sector?Coming across as professional can help charities to get funding and to attract the best employees and volunteers.” By Richard Cooper. Guardian. February 25, 2013. The term “voluntary” conjures up visions of well-meaning amateurs attempting to do good in a very British, slightly dysfunctional way. However, those working for charities know the reality of the sector is far from this, with some charities delivering services to those most in need far more effectively and efficiently than government bodies and other self-proclaimed professional organisations. In a recent survey conducted by the Charity Technology Trust and Microsoft, 69% of charities indicated that access to technology made them more professional at an organisational level, which they viewed as a positive benefit. So what exactly does professionalism mean in the voluntary sector? When I asked Andrew Jackson, director of social justice at the Kerith Centre, to describe what professionalism meant to him, he replied with another question: “Why shouldn’t the people we serve get the best?”
“Food banks surge leads to Defra inquiry; Research will study the effectiveness of emergency provision as fears increase over the impact of austerity measures.” By Patrick Butler. Guardian. February 24, 2013. Government officials have commissioned an investigation into the explosion in food banks, soup kitchens and school breakfast clubs as fears rise over the impact of austerity on the living standards of low-income families. The research will examine the extent and effectiveness of emergency food aid, amid concern that increasing numbers of low-paid and benefit-dependent households are forced to use charity food sources. The growth of food banks has become politically sensitive, with the Labour leader, Ed Miliband, citing them as a sign that the coalition’s austerity policies have left many low-income households in food poverty. Labour seized on the research, commissioned by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, as an admission that ministers and officials had been taken by surprise by the rapid growth in crisis food provision in Britain over the last three years. Labour’s food spokeswoman, Mary Creagh, said the investigation highlighted how behind the curve ministers were when it came to food poverty. “They have an awful lot of catching up to do on the reality of the nutritional recession affecting large numbers of people in the UK.” The research will explore what causes “at-risk individuals” to become “food aid users”. It will assess the impact of emergency food provision on recipients, including how much it alleviates the underlying causes of food poverty. It will look at the US, where charity food aid has become a core element of the welfare infrastructure over the past 30 years. An estimated 37 million people there receive charity food assistance, while in Canada an estimated 900,000 people use food banks each month.
“Live discussion: Crowdfunding; Join us on Tuesday 5th March from 1-3pm to discuss whether crowdfunding could be used to finance your charity campaign.” By Abby Young-Powell. Guardian. February 22, 2013. Barack Obama raised $137m during his campaign for US presidency by using crowdfunding. This method of fundraising is increasing in popularity in the voluntary sector, and many experts believe that it could provide an excellent source of finance for charities. Sites such as Buzzbnk, Solar Schools and Peoplefund.it allow organisations to raise money for a project online, through multiple donations or loans, from a number of donors, over a short period of time. This allows for more flexibility when donating and offers social loan options. Success stories include Cancer Research UK, which raised more than £1m through its My Projects platform – a site that allows donors to choose which particular research project they want to give to – and The Bicycle Academy, which raised £40,000.
However, charities need to ensure that they have a proper strategy in place in order for crowdfunding to be effective: “the [projects that] fail, fail very badly – they raise very, very little” Theresa Burton, chief executive and co-founder of Buzzbnk, has said. With that in mind, our Q&A will cover: • Whether crowdfunding could work for your charity or campaign; • The potential pitfalls; • The different approaches to consider. If you’d like to be on the expert panel, please contact Abby Young-Powell, and if you’d like to leave a question, please email or write in the comments section below.
“Who was Diana Kurzman? Donor leaves £1m for classical music; Posthumous gift to Arts Council England comes 10 years after mysterious piano-lover’s death.” By Nick Clark. Independent. February 25, 2013. A posthumous £1m donation from a woman who lived alone in an unremarkable block of brown-brick flats in North London has left the art world stumped. A decade ago, Diana Kurzman died alone in a flat in Windsor Court, close to Brent Cross tube station in Golders Green at the age of 59. She was unknown in the arts world, and leaves little record behind. Yet her substantial donation to Arts Council England to back classical music will see her legacy marked later this year. At least one of the beneficiaries has attempted to dig up more information about Ms Kurzman’s life, but beyond her dates of birth and death, and the fact that she had a passion for the piano, little has come to light. The £925,000 donation, which took Arts Council England completely by surprise, was “to be used at its discretion for the benefit of orchestras and the performance of chamber music and opera,” according to her will.
“How to get ahead in … training in the voluntary sector; As more employees train outside of work, there is the danger that development will get pushed aside.” By Debbie Andalo. Guardian. February 26, 2013. On-the-job training and development for people working in the voluntary sector is disappearing, according to latest workforce figures. The number of people who have received in-work training fell by nearly a quarter to 24.8% – in the 12 months ending September 2012, according to an analysis of the labour force survey published by Skills – Third Sector , the National Council for Voluntary Organisations and the Third Sector Research Centre. Staff are instead investing in training in their own time; the number of employees admitting they have spent time on their own professional development outside of office hours rose by 40.9% in the same period, the statistics show. Keith Mogford, chief executive of Skills – Third sector says: “I think we certainly have a concern about the climbing percentage of people getting trained outside of their work time but it is difficult to know how much that training relates to their needs in their current role or their potential progress in the sector. I think the two figures suggest that training budgets are being cut.” Veronique Jochun, research manager at NCVO, says the organisation wants statistics to be highlighted because during “hard times” there is a danger that training and development will get pushed aside. She says: “Carry on developing your staff, it does not have to be expensive, maybe do it in a more creative way where you do not have to invest much money.” Guaranteeing value for money in return for investment is critical, says Mogford. “It’s not just about looking for things which are free. It’s about spending the money you have more wisely and having procurement which is effective.” So what recommended options are available to those responsible for developing their organisation’s workforce? ment will get pushed aside.”
“People give to the charities that show donations make a difference; Evidence of the difference a charity makes is one of the main things supporters consider, a new survey shows.” By Abby Young-Powell. Guardian. February 27. 2013. Evidence of the impact donations make, along with a personal connection to a cause, are the biggest influences in giving to charity, new research has shown.
The survey of more than 160 business leaders and philanthropists across England and Scotland, carried out by Pilotlight, found that nearly 60% of respondents felt that information on the impact of a charity’s work was a deciding factor in their decision to donate. A personal link to a charity was another major factor, with more than 70% of philanthropists and city executives citing it as an important influence. Three in ten people were motivated to donate because of the funding crisis facing charities, and just over a quarter felt that fundraising campaigns influenced their decision. Fiona Halton, chief executive of Pilotlight, believes the research reinforces the need for charities to measure the impact of campaigns and be more business-like. She said: “Clearly donors now want more evidence of the impact a charity is having on the communities they serve. It’s also important that they are told how their donation contributes to the charity. With donations falling, charities need to be actively measuring their impact and talking about it if they want to attract donations of both time and money.” The research also found that 90% of business executives who engaged with a charity did so to “give something back”, and 60% joined for their own professional learning and development. Volunteering led to almost 40% of people increasing the amount of money they gave to a charity.
“How charities can make better use of social media; Social media is a useful way to engage in two-way communication and engage with supporters.” By David Lawrance. Guardian. February 28, 2013. Social media is an increasingly effective strategy for charities that want to connect with supporters. A recent survey showed that UK charitable organisations have doubled their supporters on key social media channels in the past year. Yet, for many charities, the vastness of the social media landscape is too daunting to venture into. At The Clare Foundation, we encourage tenants at our Buckinghamshire charity centre to take advantage of all the opportunities that social media channels offer. Our approach is to encourage charitable organisations to bring established commercial methods, business expertise and entrepreneurism to the voluntary sector. Maximising the effectiveness of social media is one area in which many charities need to catch up with commercial businesses. Charities rely on public support and so need to find new ways to reach their supporters, potential donors and volunteers. Social media can be one of the most effective ways for charities to build supporters, boost donations, share success stories, network with like-minded organisations, encourage people to sign up to campaigns, recruit volunteers, or demonstrate the impact of their work. With 80% of 18 to 24-year-olds and 73% of 25 to 34-year-olds using Facebook and Twitter respectively, these platforms are especially relevant to charities keen to engage with a younger generation of supporters.
“The rise of peer-to-peer recruitment in the voluntary sector; Economic pressures and increasingly diverse online networks have led to more formal schemes becoming the norm.” By Anita Pati. Guardian. March 1, 2013. Word of mouth recruitment has always existed in the voluntary sector – experiencing a volunteer’s fizz and energy first-hand for a cause is one of the best ways to motivate others. Bringing friends or family along to events has long been a staple of major donor fundraising. Now more formal peer-to-peer volunteer recruitment schemes are starting to follow this model, while volunteer champions, recruited to engage other volunteers, are becoming a more familiar feature of charities. As charity resources dwindle and the peer-to-peer nature of social media becomes the norm, using volunteer labour to attract others is an increasingly viable option and one endorsed by the government. A Cabinet Office spokesperson says: “We know that people are more likely to volunteer when a friend or peer recommends that they get involved and we support this approach when trying to recruit volunteers.” But the sector is still proving a little cautious, according to consultant Rob Jackson, co-author of The Complete Volunteer Management Handbook. He attributes this to what he believes is the wrongly-held perception that peer-to-peer can endanger diversity.