Third Sector at Large: Brace yourselves: dead dogs man is on his way back

Gavin Grant joining the RSPCA, music charity Rhythmix versus The X-Factor and social impact bonds are on our minds this week

- It seems odd that the rather smooth-looking chairman of the communications firm Burson-Marsteller UK is, as we reported last week, going to be chief executive of the RSPCA. But it may be that Gavin Grant has unfinished business. He was director of fundraising there in the 1980s and produced the controversial 'dead dogs' advert that got the charity banned from Crufts (woof, woof). Afterwards he went off into PR, but remained a charity man at heart, according to our informant: "He was astute, brave, even verging on the foolhardy. It is hugely amusing that he should end up as chief executive - he will be brilliant but controversial. Watch out RSPCA, it will be a rollercoaster."

- Hands-down victory for the music therapy charity Rhythmix, thanks to the power of social media. You'll recall that, a month ago, a girl group on TV talent show The X Factor adopted the same name, prompting the charity to seek legal help. Simon Cowell's company wouldn't budge until last Wednesday, when Rhythmix's chief executive, Mark Davyd, posted an open letter to Cowell on Facebook, appealing to his better nature (don't laugh). Between 8 am and 1 pm, the letter received approximately 500,000 hits; at 3 pm, the X Factor lawyers were in touch; and at 5.45, they caved in and agreed to change the band's name. Now all that remains to be sorted out is the question of who pays the charity's four-figure legal expenses.

- Institutional investors might be leery of social impact bonds, but the prison population doesn't need convincing. The first bonds have funded work by the St Giles Trust and others to help men sentenced to less than a year in HM Prison Peterborough to avoid reoffending when they're released. When the prison's director, Nick Leader, was asked last week for evidence of success, he said that those sentenced to more than a year, and women prisoners, were agitating to be included - and thus to receive the kind of help with housing and benefits that can help them stay on the outside. They're not daft.

- A bit of celebrity bad luck for Clothes Aid, which announced that Peaches Geldof was kicking off its online auction last Monday. A subsequent press notice on Wednesday focused rather harder on the fashion designer Jeff Banks. In the interim, the tabloids had been to town on a bit of a misunderstanding involving Geldof and a lot of makeup from Boots.

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