Red Cross right to refuse Ukip funds; The Giving Tuesday debate; Transforming Rehabilitation charities are tokens

Plus: We need to address mental health issues in the workplace

Ukip Calypso; the single from which the British Red Cross refused to accept proceeds
Ukip Calypso; the single from which the British Red Cross refused to accept proceeds

British Red Cross was right to reject proceeds from Ukip song

I was interested to read your story about the British Red Cross's decision to reject the proceeds from the sale of a pro-Ukip song.

Any charity's decision on whether or not to accept funds should be driven solely by what would be in the interests of achieving its mission. I resigned from the board of a charity when it refused to accept money from the National Lottery because some board members were personally opposed to gambling. As a fundraiser wanting to change the world, I am not normally a fan of refusing funds.

In this case, however, the song called for political change that could be contrary to the mission of the Red Cross. Giving credibility to the song, and therefore helping to spread its message to a wider audience, would have been acting against the charity's mission, with a potentially negative impact far in excess of any benefit from the paltry funds generated.

The British Red Cross has additional considerations because of its constitution - if it was seen to be supporting a particular political party, it could be thrown out of the international Red Cross federation.

Consequently, the decision to reject this funding is so obviously correct that any criticism of the move seems questionable - and is probably politically motivated.

Mike Wade, Director of fundraising and communications, National Deaf Children's Society, London EC2

Giving Tuesday won't work in the UK, says Stephen Pidgeon

For decades fundraisers have tried to build giving into people's way of life - to make it normal to give without thinking twice. Moreover, the best kind of income is regular, predictable, tax-effective donations that charities can count on - giving 365, you might call it. So when the Charities Aid Foundation proposes one Giving Tuesday in December, it's hard to work out the strategy. It does none of the things that most people would say are the best ways to increase giving.

Joe Saxton Co-founder, nfpSynergy, London E1

I find Stephen Pidgeon's comments unconstructive and negative, with a hint of prejudice. Is it because he didn't come up with the idea, so therefore it won't work? Charities need to exploit every avenue to raise funds these days - they can't afford to be complacent. Well done, CAF, for taking the initiative.

Vicky Ellis Marketing and office manager, Campaign to Protect Rural England, Charing, Kent

Charities are merely tokens in probation service reforms

Frances Crook, chief executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, is right to question whether the government's Transforming Rehabilitation programme is destroying the probation service without any evidence that the new fragmented landscape of providers it has created is any better. If the government had the courage of its "privatise everything" convictions, it should have awarded all 21 contracts to companies. Then, after five years, we could have proved or disproved the theory at the heart of Conservative, Liberal and - increasingly - Labour policies, that the profit motive is the solution to breaking the reoffending cycle.

We've known for decades that public and voluntary sector organisations were always going to be sidelined in favour of private companies in the tendering process for government contracts. But it leaves a sour taste in the mouth that voluntary sector organisations remain included in this charade as some kind of token.

Richard Chambers, Fundraising manager, the Kenward Trust, Yalding, Kent

We need to tackle mental health problems in the sector workplace

Gill Taylor's column about managing stress in the workplace provides some useful advice. Naturally, stress, anxiety and other forms of mental illness can lead one to feel alone and isolated.

Additionally, mental health still has stigma attached to it. I am not sure how much is being done to highlight this in charities, but I do know that continued efforts to address this stigma are imperative if we are going to break down barriers quickly in order to retain productivity and tranquillity from those suffering these common conditions.

From experience, even some of the best-known employment support organisations in the UK still don't understand that mental health problems do not always lead to hospitalisation. Conditions such as anxiety and stress are most often experienced by those in work and seeking work.

Organisations that provide services for such sufferers must do more to help and prevent such a common condition from getting out of control.

Ivor Sutton, London N7

Please send letters to thirdsector@haymarket.com or Third Sector, Teddington Studios, Broom Road, Teddington TW11 9BE

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