PUBLIC SECT0R: ICFM plans charity accounts research

Charities are expected to launch a PR push later in the year in a bid to halt a fundraising crisis.

According to the sector's professional body, the Institute of Charity Fundraising Managers, there is widespread public ignorance about how charities spend money coupled with a worrying rise in the average age of givers.

As a result, the ICFM has commissioned academic research to develop a way of analysing and presenting charity accounts that, according to ICFM chief executive Lindsay Boswell, will give the sector 'greater transparency'.

He said: 'There is a perception that the public think more is spent on fundraising costs than actually is. We aim to stop that perception.'

Professor Adrian Sargeant, from the centre for voluntary sector management at Henley Management College, has been commissioned to carry out the research.

Its findings should be available by the end of the year when PR work will start in a bid to better explain fundraising issues.

Charities involved in the survey include the British Red Cross and the RSPCA. Boswell added: 'We will promote it in-house but we expect the bulk of work on explaining our research, in terms of individual accounts, to be handled by the charities.'

One form of research that the ICFM believes is too basic is that carried out by the Directory of Social Change, the body set up to provide research and training to voluntary groups.

This week it launched its guide to the charity sector, titled The Major Charities, An Independent Guide.

Boswell said: ' There are different reasons why some spend more on costs than others.We don't believe this latest research shows that.'

The DoSC defended the research, stating: 'The book aims to help readers to identify organisations that they will be happy to support, describing differences rather than recommending choices.'

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