Without Government Funding, many Not-for-Profit services are unviable…

News has been making its way into Today’s agenda regarding Charities struggling as a result of Government budgets shrinking. But this story itself alludes to the differences between what are in some cases little more than not-for-profit organisations carrying out low-cost public services on behalf of perhaps a number of government organisations and what most of us would consider to be Charities in their ‘truest sense’, which are those specific cause-focused organisations which are rarely anything but funded by donations, fundraising and private support.

All enjoy varying levels of volunteer support and share the commonality of reduced incomes  – a factor not just brought about by the economies required by the times, but also by the sheer number of Charities which now exist, many of which duplicate the work and aims of others at least in part, if not entirely – literally creating competition for donors.

Together as the Third Sector, Charities and Not-for-Profit ‘service delivery’ organisations face very different issues in the drive to fill the gaps left by cuts and the short reach of Government and it is a little more than ironic that at a time when David Cameron’s ‘Big Society’ looks to the service delivery specialisms of the Not-for-Profit providers, that the Government is itself reducing the funds which are their very lifeblood.

What many of us may not readily understand is that whilst there will always be some members of the public who are motivated to donate what are sometimes sizable amounts to service providers such as Rural Community Councils and Dial-a-Rides, the community focussed work that these very worthwhile 3rd Sector Organisations carry out, in simply assisting people in their everyday lives fails to have the same donation draw as a Charity with a cause which fires the imagination, passion and dare I say it fear of many – thereby  motivating them to put their hands in their pockets.

In simple terms, this leaves the practical reality that Government – whether Central or Local or through NGO’s – will always have to support the Not-for-Profit service providers within the 3rd Sector if they wish them to continue to provide services, as the public will never provide the level of support voluntarily to make public services provided in a different name available.

Whilst the services that these organisations provide may be low in cost and a cheap option for the Government to take, politicians do not have the option of stepping away from supporting them with some kind of misplaced idea that the public will directly choose to pick up the bill. They won’t and shouldn’t have to, because that’s one of the reasons they pay Tax…


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