When you get more than 50 fundraisers in a room, you're bound to hear some off-the-wall ideas (especially after a glass or two of wine). And so it was at the networking event during Third Sector's Fundraising Week, when Charlie Belbin, fundraising coordinator of the Food Chain, which works to provide good nutrition for people with HIV, revealed the latest wheeze at his charity. Apparently the finance manager, Nigel Burch, plans to strike a dance pose every day at 3pm, post a picture on Twitter and ask everyone else to do the same in their own offices and make £1 donations. His plans include the Kylie, the Morecambe and Wise and Walk Like an Egyptian. We suggest adding The Travolta, as illustrated.
The charities minister Rob Wilson, who was MP for Reading East and hopes to be so again post-election, made a bid for local votes by tweeting a picture of Reading fans decked out in blue and white before the recent FA Cup semi-final against Arsenal at Wembley. But by doing so he also gave away the fact that he was evidently sitting at the opposite end with the Arsenal fans: he is an inveterate Gooner and has been known to compare the long game played by Arsene Wenger to that of the coalition government. A win-win situation, sort of, and it was Arsenal that did win – probably the only red over blue victory Wilson would ever want to celebrate.
If the Conservatives and their coalition partners had really wanted to woo charities in the election campaign, surely they would have found a way to launch the long-awaited Local Sustainability Fund before the dissolution of parliament. Everyone says it's ready to go and it will definitely happen, but if it ever does the kudos could well fall to a government of other parties. Reading between the lines, Nick Hurd's specific pledge of £40m when he was charities minister last June, though tentatively made, might have been the sticking point with the Treasury. And remember that George Osborne originated the so-called philanthropy tax – withdrawn after a campaign – and has characterised charities as anti-business.
There's usually a degree of tension between the Charity Commission and the sector's lawyers and panjandrums, but it seems higher than usual at the moment. Apparently the commission has been asking for advance sight of anything anyone says about it and suggesting that criticism of the commission undermines public trust and confidence in charities, a view that some feel involves a few leaps of logic. One informant says there's a febrile atmosphere, another that there's "a lot of heat". Maybe all concerned should line up outside the regulator's HQ, do the ice bucket challenge together, give the sponsorship money to National Family Mediation and just cool down a bit.