Op-Ed: The latest wheeze from Save The Children

Posted Nov 27, 2012 by Alexander Baron
The Save The Children fund is running a new TV advertisement inviting you to donate £5 to help alleviate child poverty. If you have a heart, you won't.
Children collecting firewood in an area of the DRC.
Children collecting firewood in an area of the DRC.
The latest Save The Children advertisement was uploaded to YouTube on November 24, and at 00.06 hours London time this morning it was registering 2,381 views. Professionally produced - undoubtedly by professional film makers for professional fees - the ad, Tomorrow, invites the viewer to send a text for a mere £5, and: "We receive at least 99% depending on network."
How can anyone not be moved by such an advertisement? You'd have to be heartless not to text £5 straight away, right? Hold your horses! The important word in that sentence is the first one: We.
Let us assume for the sake of argument that all £5 goes to Save The Children. How much of it will actually go to help those kids sleeping on the street?
After the charity has paid its £4,000,000 advertising bill plus the salaries and expenses of the 590 staff at its London office, not a lot. Doubtless most of them are on far more modest salaries than its CEO, former Labour spin doctor Justin Forsyth, who is paid around £162,000 a year. No wonder he's smiling.
For the average person to donate £5 or any sum to Save The Children is frankly a waste of money, although Justin Forsyth will probably beg to differ. If you really want to help kids in India (which is a nuclear power) and elsewhere, leave the funding of Save The Children and similar so-called charities to the big foundations and governments. Any organisation that receives a substantial percentage of its revenue from the government - any government - cannot truly be called a charity, and its motives should always raise suspicion if only because it is always unwise to bite the hand that feeds you. There are smaller charities that work in the Far East for which even a modest donation can make a real difference such as the Abandoned & Destitute Children's Appeal Fund. This pays no salaries at all. Then there is Street Kids Rescue, which was founded by Duncan Mundell and his wife. Mr Mundell is one of those wicked capitalists targeted by the rioters last August, according to the comrades, anyway. Last year, this charity spent less than £11,000 on staff and management costs.
The best way most people can help others though is at the local level, through Time Bank or some such. This may not have the same appeal as an international, extremely well funded charity, but anything you donate by way of time or anything else will be making a difference for the needy rather than helping fund a well paid post for a charity professional.