Download the Third Sector iPad edition

Sector needs a new vision of philanthropy, says Sir Stuart Etherington

The chief executive of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, speaking at the 30th annual lecture of the Attlee Foundation, says altruism should be celebrated

Sir Stuart Etherington
Sir Stuart Etherington

The voluntary sector must develop a clearer vision of philanthropy and the difference it makes, according to Sir Stuart Etherington, the chief executive of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations.

Speaking on "Philanthropy, Fairness and Democracy" in London last night, Etherington defended philanthropy and addressed the criticisms often levelled at it – that it is outdated, does not work and is inherently undemocratic and unfair. He argued that its "weaknesses are outweighed by its benefits".

But he said that there was a need for a "stronger narrative for philanthropy that reasserts its moral underpinnings and accentuates the positive achievements that giving time and money can make".

"If philanthropy is truly to be at the heart of society – working with organisations from other sectors, blending them and adding to them – we need a vision for what a democratic, effective and substantive philanthropy looks like in the decade ahead," he said.

Etherington was delivering the 30th annual lecture of the Attlee Foundation, set up to help people disadvantaged by poverty or lack of opportunity and, in so doing, commemorate the life and achievements of the former Labour Prime Minister Clement Attlee.

Etherington called for a celebration of altruism and a defence of what is special about charity. He said there was a need for a debate about rights and responsibilities in society. That debate should recognise that "those with the broadest shoulders need to do more", he added, but at the same time that it is necessary "to stop bashing the rich".

Etherington said the clearer narrative also needed to "make a better case for where and why philanthropy makes the most difference".

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus
Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +

Latest Jobs

Forthcoming Events

Expenses and Benefits

  • Wed 3 Dec 2014
  • Birmingham

VAT Made Simple

  • Thu 11 Dec 2014
  • Bristol

Leaders in Fundraising

  • Tue 14 Apr 2015
  • ILEC Conference Centre, London

Leaders In Fundraising

London, 14 April 2015

Big Donor Summit

London, 15 April 2015

RSS Feed

Third Sector Insight

Sponsored webcasts, surveys and expert reports from Third Sector partners

Markel

Expert Hub

Advice on risk from a specialist insurer

Flooding - a bigger risk than ever

As winter approaches, Wendy Cotton of charity insurance specialist Markel explains how you can protect your charity against damage by flooding

How to reduce theft at your charity

Maximising security on your premises, using deterrents such as SmartWater and ensuring computer systems are secure can all prevent a theft occuring, says Wendy Cotton, a charity insurance expert at Markel