Lobbying and social media; opportunities for older volunteers; chief executive pay

Comments from readers on the Third Sector website

Older volunteers working for Ramblers in Anglesey, Wales
Older volunteers working for Ramblers in Anglesey, Wales

Lobbying act affects social media campaigns

Charities must record employees' use of social media if it is part of organised campaign activity as specified by the lobbying act, the Electoral Commission has said.

New commission guidance sets out what organisations, including charities, need to know about their use of social media and the lobbying act.

A commission spokesman said that charities should be aware that organised social media activity that involved employees tweeting about a campaign could count towards the spending limits.

On Thirdsector.co.uk, Andy Benson said: "Here we go. Just as we suspected, the best way to stop groups campaigning is to tie them up with widget counting and bureaucratic tangles. Time to say no."

Fenris Wolf: "Campaigning is the job of politicians, not charities. If people want to change the country then they should join political parties that represent their ideals.

If they want to help others then they should support charities that are active in their field of choice."

Veronica Bennett: "Your response suggests to me a limited view of what constitutes democracy. I'm disturbed by this move to gag charities but not others – for example, the Occupy movement, political journalists and so on. Where's the democracy in that?"

'Give older volunteers more opportunities'

Charities must provide more diverse volunteering opportunities for people of all ages, rather than just focusing on younger generations, according to Lynne Berry, chair of the Commission on the Voluntary Sector and Ageing. Berry told the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Civil Society and Volunteering that more older people than ever were volunteering.

She said she was disappointed to read a letter to The Times earlier this year in which a volunteer at a National Trust property said many sites of both the trust and English Heritage relied upon older volunteers, which was unsustainable as the health of these volunteers declined. Berry said: "I despaired at this idea that there is a particular type of volunteer who does a particular type of role."

Richard Chambers commented: "Charities could use volunteers in far more productive ways if they could be properly trained and supported in areas such as counselling, advocacy, mentoring and IT. Without this, the 'professionals' will continue to use the 'amateurs' to plug gaps rather than deliver strategic objectives."

Jamie Ward-Smith: "What's interesting is the growth of self-organised volunteers who are getting together to make change happen, often using nothing more than Twitter or Facebook. They have no training in the formal sense, but in many cases they are making a substantial difference."

MPs split over £100k charity chief salaries

Almost half of MPs think it is "unacceptable" for charities to pay staff more than £100,000 a year, research has shown. A survey of 154 MPs by the consultancy nfpSynergy found that 47 per cent said they thought it was definitely or somewhat unacceptable for a charity to pay some of its staff more than £100,000 a year; 35 per cent said they thought it was acceptable.

Kevyn Jones commented: "Two top earners are on £200,000 a year. One gives £50,000 to a charity, the other becomes the charity chief executive on a salary of £150,000. Both have sacrificed £50,000 for the cause, but one is a hero and the other a villain."

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