Third Sector at large: Arise 'Sir' William as the speeches are cut and the numbers fly high

Do The Times and know something about the New Year Honours list that we don't?


Not only The Times but also the website now refer to the chair of the Charity Commission, who has not been knighted, as Sir William Shawcross.

The New Year Honours list will be out soon - do they know something we don't? Or does he just have one of those indefinably establishment names that sounds as if it should have a Sir in front of it? Take note of our (slightly idealised) picture ...

The reference came in a recent list of guests at Chequers, the Prime Minister's country retreat; "Sir" William and his wife Olga Polizzi were there on 28 February for lunch with the Queen and various titled brass. If the Queen doesn't already have a few copies, Shawcross will have given her his chunky biography of her late mother.

Yet another departure from the Institute of Fundraising, bringing the leavers' total to well over 30, out of a staff of about 40, in three years: Paul Marvell, director of professional development and membership, is now head of fundraising strategy at the British Red Cross. The institute says it's all normal turnover. The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development's 2013 workforce survey showed sector median turnover at 15 per cent, or 7 per cent for voluntary leavers: do the maths.

A new method for keeping speakers under control was revealed at the recent National Council for Voluntary Organisations Trustee Conference. Charities minister Rob Wilson related how he was invited to speak for 15 minutes. When he arrived he was told 10, then someone else said it was five and lastly the chief executive Sir Stuart Etherington asked him to "say a few words". He actually spoke for less than 10 - a result of sorts.

One charity leader offers his experience of Emma-Jane Cross, chief executive of BeatBullying, a charity now in liquidation amid allegations of financial mismanagement: "A couple of years ago I contacted her to suggest a mutual learning and ideas meeting. She responded very enthusiastically and we agreed a time and place to meet. I showed up, she didn't. Calls to her office went unreturned and I never heard from her again!" It's the John Wayne school of management - "never apologise and never explain".

Those at the recent Charity Finance Group dinner searched in vain for numbers on the tables until they looked heavenwards and spotted the balloons. As the guest speaker remarked: "Only accountants would choose to celebrate by having figures floating in the air".

The CFG has had what its chair called an "interesting" summer involving a higher-than-planned raid on its reserves - and it says it has a new culture these days. Upon further inquiry, this includes cheery slogans displayed round the office and a daily song at 4pm: and no, it's not always Money, Money, Money.

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