They take our money, where’s the scrutiny?
I’d been desperately fending off an onslaught of cold calls for weeks when a familiar number flashed up one evening.
Due to the odd time and the friendly dialling code I answered.
It was Matt from Lancaster University, a friendly chap whose small talk came close to masking his true agenda.
We spoke about the extensive campus building work for a bit before he got down to business. The ‘College 1,000’ campaign was an attempt to get as many alumni as possible to donate £5 a month. The money was to buy new sports kit and help worse- off students.
It wasn’t a small amount but you did get the chance of winning a toy lion, my former college’s mascot. As tempting as this was I declined, but it made me feel awful, as if I’d just spat in Matt’s face and ruined a less fortunate prospective student’s future for good measure.
This was charity and I was pure evil. But the university was getting loads of cash, enough to rebuild the entire campus.
Matt said: “I understand. Maybe the time’s not right.”
Over the past week revelations about Oxfam and others have shocked almost universally.
This week the charity’s deputy chief executive has resigned and the organisation faces accusations of concealing the findings of an inquiry into claims staff used prostitutes while delivering aid in Haiti in 2011.
Now, while not for a second would I attempt to draw parallels between Matt’s charming attempts to raise funds and the appalling alleged actions of Oxfam’s staff both do relate to the same issue, scrutiny.
The government thinks charities should now disclose all details of sexual misconduct investigations but why stop there? Surely, despite being privately run, they should be scrutinised just as much as public bodies? They’re after our money at the end of the day.
They should certainly not be off-limits. We should not feel bad questioning their motives or structure because for too long we have and it hasn’t ended well.