After coming under pressure from the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, The Daily Telegraph newspaper has made significant changes to an article that claimed one in five charities spend less than half of the funds they raise on charitable activities.
The NCVO complained to the press regulator the Independent Press Standards Organisation after the newspaper ran the article, which was based on a report from a charity called the True and Fair Foundation, on 12 December.
The Telegraph has published a correction in today’s newspaper and made changes to both the tone and substance of its online version of the story.
The article no longer suggests that public donations are not being spent on charitable activities, does not refer to charities named in the article as "offenders" or "culprits", and a quote from Gina Miller, founder and chair of the True and Fair Foundation, in which she said it was "an utter disgrace that so much of money people generously give is going to feed large charity machines", has been removed.
References to charities spending less than half of the funds they raise each year on charitable activities have been amended to talk about total income.
Another line, which said the news would "disappoint the thousands of volunteers who every year put aside time to raise money for good causes, as well as donors who expect more cash to go to help those in need", has also been taken out.
The matter did not require an adjudication from IPSO but it did mediate to resolve the dispute, a spokesman for the NCVO said.
Sir Stuart Etherington, chief executive of the NCVO, said: "I have always said that charities should be open to scrutiny. But that does not mean we should let inaccuracies go unchallenged. I am grateful for the constructive engagement of the Telegraph and IPSO in this process."
The report from the True and Fair Foundation, formerly called Miller Philanthropy, said it had analysed 5,543 charities with annual incomes of more than £500,000, with the aim of finding out how much of their income was spent on their charitable activities.
It claimed that 1,020 charities, with a combined income of £6bn in their most recently available accounts, spent 50 per cent or less of their income on charitable activities and "a staggering 292 charities" spent 10 per cent or less of their income in the same way.