Charities need to build better relationships with donors, says culture minister

Ed Vaizey calls for a 'culture change' in the way charities engage with people

Ed Vaizey
Ed Vaizey

Charities must get much better at thanking donors and building good relationships with them, according to Ed Vaizey, the Minister for Culture, Communications and the Creative Industries.

Speaking at a fringe event on philanthropy at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester, Vaizey said he had raised money for several charities but had been disappointed by the experience.

"Most of the charities did not engage me or give me feedback," he said. He said his relationship with these organisations was "almost non-existent. That is a terrible culture that has to change."

Vaizey said he thought too many small charities were carrying out similar activities. "I find it intensely frustrating that there are myriad individual charities that are often involved in the same sector doing similar work," he said. "Often they don’t know of each other’s existence or, for personal reasons, they won’t work together."

He said the government should help to create a culture change in philanthropy. "We should celebrate people who give money," he said. "I see nothing wrong with having your name put on the door of a building if you have helped to fund that organisation."

Vaizey said he thought the Gift Aid system was too complicated. "That is a matter for the Chancellor and the charities minister to address if they see fit," he said.

After Vaizey’s speech, a member of the audience was applauded for a suggestion that there should be a guide to charities in the style of the Which? consumer guides, to help would-be donors decide which charities they should give to.

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