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Last updated September 2017

Blogs 2012

Archive of Blogs for the year


  • The Cold War - Sea of umbrellas during heavy rain
    The Cold War

    A chill wind is blowing across Britain. It heeds no mortal command, no man or woman seemingly able to stop its remorseless progress. Its icy blasts are felt in high streets across the land, in Threadneedle Street in the City of London, it blows unchecked down Downing Street in the political heart of the nation.

  • Another One Bites The Dust - George Clooney being arrested for protesting at Sudan rally
    Another One Bites the Dust

    In charity fundraisingland November is Movember. “MoBro” participants start the month clean shaven and must grow and groom a moustache in the following 30 days. What I ponder is it about charities and facial hair? You may have missed that September 5th was “Freddie for a Day” which raises funds by persuading people to dress up as the deceased glam rocker Freddie Mercury for a day and encourage friends to sponsor you. The initiative has raised over $15 million to help in the fight against AIDS worldwide. That’s pretty serious money and I judge you have never heard of it, which suggests there is an awful lot more charity money being raised by celebrity endorsement.

  • The Enemy Within - Ian Duncan-Smith walks past a group of protesters against welfare cuts
    The Enemy Within

    Make no mistake about it; welfare reform is politics in the raw. An increasingly bitter row has broken out in both Whitehall and Westminster about the future of public spending and in particular cuts on benefits. Slugging it out in the media bear pit is the Chancellor George Osborne, on the ropes from his booing at the Paralympics and Iain Duncan Smith the un-reshuffled Secretary of State for Work and pensions.

  • Burying Bad News

    Behind the scenes and across the country, many charity managers and trustees are quietly engaging in the annual ritual in myth making and storytelling that is presentation of the annual report. We are lucky that the Charity Commission publishes these documents on its website free for all to read and marvel at. It brings a degree of scrutiny and transparency to our sector that is admirable. The narrative which compliments the financial accounts is every organisation’s opportunity to set up its stall and report on the previous period of activity.

  • The In Crowd - Silhouette crowd of people with two men in foreground shaking hands
    The In Crowd

    I was listening to Julia Hobsbawm on the Today programme the other day. She was talking about networking which has been given official recognition with a visiting professorship at our old friends the Cass Business School. What she said struck a chord: that networking is increasingly important in our professional lives and everybody should be doing it.

  • Waving not drowning

    This month I want to bang on about the terrible job the Government is making of running the country. The economy is stuck in a rut, Ministers grimly hanging onto their jobs under a hail of criticism and I still can’t leave the house without encountering miles of road-humps in every direction. It’s too hot and I’ve had enough.

  • Big Society - David cameron looking worried in front of a poster for Big Society Network
    End of The Big Society?

    A month on, the budget seems a very long time away in politics. ACO have joined with other sector bodies to lobby HM Treasury on the negative implications of what is now widely known as the “charity tax”, a cap on tax relief, leading to a fear that donors will start restricting and curtailing large donations.

  • The Waste Land - Photo of man surrounded by umbrellas
    The Waste Land

    According to TS Eliot “April is the cruellest month”. I suspect this rather suits curmudgeonly Brits as we look out over our own personal version of the waste land post budget. But this is no time to tarry over doom and gloom, there are officially sanctioned celebrations planned!

  • Happy Bunnies

    In the Northern hemisphere, the beginning of spring is 1st March. In the unlikely event you are reading this in the southern hemisphere, happy autumn!

  • The Year Of The Dragon - Illustration of the year in numerals crafted from folded paper in bright colours
    Year of The Dragon

    It has been exactly a year since I sat first in the Chief Executive’s chair at ACO and quite a lot has happened. 2012 is the Chinese year of the dragon, bringing success and happiness that I hope you will share this year.

  • Dear Minister

    The Association of Charitable Organisations welcomes your open letter to civil society dated 11th October 2011, in which you updated us on the strategic framework underpinning policy towards the charitable sector. We agree that the country faces serious economic and social challenges and that these are linked. ACO members are dealing directly, practically and positively with the effects of austerity, by providing millions of pounds a year in grants and providing vital welfare support and advice to thousands of people in need.