Posts Tagged ‘cack handed’

Billionaires Tax and Oxfam’s Poverty Reports

Oxfam no 202918 is a registered charity in England and Wales  and in Scotland SC039042. Oxfam GB is one of 20 members of the international confederation Oxfam.

From accounts just published in respect of 2017/18 Oxfam GB spent £336.9m on charitable work (£173.2m on humanitarian work, £151.6m on  development work and £12m on campaigning. A further £100m was spent on trading costs (net income £18.9m) and fundraising.)

Also just published is a report on equality and poverty saying ‘Last year, the poorest half of the world became 11% poorer, while billionaires’ fortunes rose 12% – or $2.5 billion every day….. The gap between the richest and poorest people is growing.’

Having  a Pop at Billionaires

The poverty report wants to engender a movement that creates a higher tax income from the Super-rich. This simplistic approach applies whether they are rich in terms of income or asset values. Rich list Americans like Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Microsoft’s Bill & Miranda Gates, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Ellison, the Walton family of Walmart fame, Warren Buffett, the Koch brothers and the Mars family who are collectively worth well in excess of $500 billion.

Large corporations systematically hide their corporate profits in overseas tax havens to avoid tax. This is supported by Oxfam research under the headline ‘Drug companies as tax dodgers, price gougers, and influence peddlers that named four pharmaceutical corporations – Abbott, Johnson & Johnson, Merck & Co and Pfizer. Tax dodging, high prices, and political influencing by drug companies exacerbate the yawning gap between rich and poor.’

Comment

  • Oxfam is going through a turbulent period and interested charity watchers will be pouring over their latest annual reports and accounts. These detail some of the structural changes planned or implemented to restore the recent loss of confidence.
  • Billionaires are an apparently easy target to gain extra resources. Where is the effort to curtail corruption, political incompetence/misfeasance and other forms of oppression which would wastes resources gained from a billionaires tax.
  • Oxfam is a large and potentially cumbersome organisation that in our opinion needs to continue changing and honing down it’s focus to protect the core work that it should do.

Web Fundraising a Scammers Paradise

It may be part of human nature for tragedy to stimulate a charity gene that provides an outpouring of cash and emotion. Tragedy is  the backbone of funding to help with international disasters and top up the coffers of DEC. Big charities hopefully ensure their web funding, logistics and ethics are legal, decent and honest. That may not always be so on smaller one off appeals by amateurs often using fundraising platforms, email and social media, (modern day tin collecting.)

In the face of recent concerns the charity regulators are meeting with fundraising platforms to impose new guidelines.

Campaign Updates for Man made Disasters

  • The We Love Manchester Fund managed through the Red Cross has reached over £4 million, thanks to generous donations the majority of which was via web sites. Each of the 22 bereaved families will receive £250,000.
  • Grenfell Tower as a search term on Just Giving has 3 appeals linked to registered charities. But not all are for registered charities, Just Giving, had to take over control of an account spuriously raising cash for  Westminster terror attack victim.
  • The British Red Cross, K&C Foundation and the London Community Foundation have come together to make money available immediately through the London Emergencies Trust, a charity set up following the Westminster Bridge attack this year to support the victims of emergencies. There are reports of false claims by individuals seeking to gain from the tragedy.
  • In Las Vegas, ‘Zappos for Good’ is matching donations made on the CrowdRise donation page, up to $1 million, to help support victims and their families of the recent shooting massacre.
  • The Mirror and other national newspapers report: a page to raise £1.5million to prosecute missing Madeleine McCann’s parents was taken down amid fraud claims; ‘scammers’ had hijacked a web fundraising campaign to send a little girl with leukemia on a dream trip to Disneyland;  Another case saw a dance teacher convicted for inventing a story about a nine-year-old “pupil” who was dying from cancer and asked for donations to pay for a dream trip to Disneyland; Kids’ football coach Darren Head, 39, got a 14-week suspended jail term in 2015 for stealing about £4,500 he raised on Just Giving .

Comment

  • Caveat emptor or buyer beware was a commercial mantra until it was overtaken in the UK with a compensation culture,  miss-selling rules and entitlement beliefs. Some of those who have donated to fraudulent sites are hoping to get the money refunded. Do not hold your breath.
  • Encourage and assist the Charity Commission to keep up their scrutiny and integrity work.
  • Beware Band Waggon Jumpers and make your own assessments of relative need and marginal operators before parting with cash or support in kind.

Tsunami Season of Plastic Charity

Charitable donors are braced for another tsunami season! The deluge of plastic bags for the donation of clothes and brick-a-brak  is stepping up a gear after the summer holidays. Professional collection companies are becoming more adept at signing on new charities and targeting post code areas for bag drops.

No such thing as a good Tsunami

  • Why are the plastic bags generally prepackaged in another plastic wrapper – go figure.
  • The 5p single use plastic bag charge for retailers is not applicable in these cases. The majority of bags are probably never even given a single use, at least for the purpose intended.
  • Why has no charity ‘cottoned on’ to the environmental impact of ‘plastic charity’ and the seemingly random collections of home delivered bags. Paper bags or multi use receptacles could be devised.
  • The door to door distribution of bags by foot seems effective, profitable for some and job creating. Many vans driving slowly and stop starting around a local district creates pollution. Nominating  set dates for  zoned collections would help as would allowing donors to use their own receptacles.
  • What proportion of bags collected are subsequently recycled at the warehouse or charity?  A cynic would say not enough.

 

Intellectual National Trust Property

The case we are looking at relates to The National Trust for Scotland registered in Scotland, Charity Number SC 007410. The issues could be the similar for English Heritage,  National Trust and other land and building owning charities.

The National Trust for Scotland (NTS) claim to own Glencoe and hold the trademark for the name including that covering clothing. Now they have been accused of bullying a small Aberdeenshire  business in a trademark dispute. Lawyers for the charity wrote to Hilltrek Outdoor Clothing demanding they stop selling their Glencoe jacket that has been on the market for around 25 years! The recorded delivery letter was sent on the 4th August and gave the company until 11th August to comply or suffer further action.

A trust spokesman Mark Bishop, Director of Customer & Cause  said “In retrospect, although the letter sent to Hilltreck was a standard one, it may have been in the circumstances of this particular company too harsh in tone. Our only desire is to protect the properties in our care and stop them being exploited.” How many other companies have received similar ‘bullying’ but ‘standard’ letters. The aim may be to stop the properties in the charitie’s care being exploited but Mmm that is obviously the trust’s job.

NTS also owns St Kilda and is still at the centre of an acrimonious dispute  pursuing legal action against Western Isles Council, which wants to own potentially lucrative trademarks in the name of the famous archipelago to capitalise on the huge global interest surrounding St Kilda.   With its dramatic and romantic history, the Unesco World Heritage Site has been the inspiration for a wide range of goods and events, from clothing and books, through to opera productions, and the council has paid more than £1,000 to successfully apply for EC trademark applications for classes 9, 16, 35, 39, 41, 43.

Concerns

  • Protecting trademarks can be far more expensive than registering them in the first place. The cost in the Glencoe case is to reputation and goodwill. The  St Kilda case is to legal bills and commercial consequences.
  • To what extent should charities take on commercial and business practices including action against other public bodies.