When Charities Refuse a Gift – Givewell Survey
Thursday, 18th September 2003 at 1:09 pm
A survey by the Givewell Research Centre shows that many Australian charities won’t accept gifts or sponsorship from just anyone – some money is considered ‘dirty’ depending on the business activities of the donor or sponsor!
Givewell says that tobacco, gaming and alcohol companies in particular could find it difficult to find beneficiaries of their efforts to be good corporate citizens.
Givewell surveyed more than 1000 charities asking them if they had any form of policy whether it is formal informal or even ad hoc, to screen donations or sponsorships. More than two hundred charities replied.
The results show that 25% of charities have some form of formal policy, 18% say they have an informal screening process and more than half of the charities have no policy.
One third of the charities with a screening policy say they would not accept support from a tobacco company and one in five say their policy excludes companies whose activities are seen to compromise their charity’s cause.
The survey found the common exclusions include companies involved in gaming, alcohol, the sex industry and environmental damage. Of those without a policy, one in six say that a policy is under consideration or they recognise that they will need a policy in the future.
Givewell’s research analyst, Dr. Jill Thomsom says the survey found that sponsorships are subject to greater scrutiny than donations.
Dr. Thomson says while many know the saying ‘never look a gift horse in the mouth’, many more charities are wary of the motives behind corporate giving and have qualms about accepting money they consider to be ‘dirty’.
She says there is therefore a need for charities to develop clearly defined policies on screening sources of funding.
Givewell’s founder Michael Walsh says this kind of research has not been done elsewhere.
He says there have been surveys that show charities are not interested in ethical investments but this new survey shows they are interested in the activities of the sponsors and the individuals who want to donate.
Find out more about Givewell atwww.givewell.com.au.