Anger over admin cost league table

Mathew Little

Sector leaders have condemned as offensive and irresponsible a league table of major charities' fundraising costs compiled by a publishing firm.

Searchline Publishing is selling the tables, which compare the fundraising and administration costs, assets, reserves, and average salaries, of more than 100 UK charities, for as much as £150.

A Daily Mirror story last week used the figures to build up a league table of household name charities such as Oxfam, Cancer Research UK and the NSPCC.

The company's website advises the public: "Do not contribute to those charities that "waste your donation" by spending excess amounts on administration.

But NCVO chief executive Stuart Etherington slammed the venture. "Such crude analysis is meaningless. It is offensive to see charities whose effectiveness is well documented named and shamed this way."

Dr Ian Williams, executive director of international development charity Concern Universal, which is featured in the tables, said: "This information is in the public domain, but they are putting a lot of subjective analysis on the facts which can be misleading and damaging."

But Luke FitzHerbert, researcher with the Directory of Social Change, urged charities to explain the reasons for their fundraising and administration costs: "Even when there are wholly acceptable explanations, these are often not disclosed, which we have been campaigning against for some years."

Searchline Publishing did not return calls.

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