Obligatory All Year

Posted: 29.12.10 in Blogging

This BBC News article has stirred a debate in my head. Who should be responsible for keeping charities afloat? Should the government subsidise the work of organisations’ work to improve things, or is it up to the people to decide who needs the most support?

It is a fine line. On the one hand the government ought to be responsible for taking reasonable steps to ensure the citizens it serves are relatively comfortable. If it falls to a charity to lobby for change, provide the change and represent its people then the government is failing in that respect.

On the other hand, the opposing view is that perhaps charities would then be regarded as a means to provide things that do not really matter, which makes them rather pointless.

To illustrate my example, the NSPCC‘s “Full Stop” campaign to stop child abuse is changing children’s lives, thanks to donated money. Does the fact it still exists suggest the government is failing to take care of children? Should the government be funding its work and taking responsibility? Does the independence of the charity from government suggest that the government does not think this is a priority?

They seem like leading questions. Perhaps they are. But you might consider further: if the government took responsibility and were the primary source of funds, would people still be as generous with their donations? How can a government struggling with resources maintain the flow of money to charitable organisations?

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