Charities Need to Live Up to their Values

from Voluntary Sector (the Guardian):

Lose the egos and collaborate

As a charity leader I know only too well that staff smell a rat when we’re inauthentic – when we espouse one set of values but behave altogether differently. But the voluntary sector as a whole could be accused of the very same thing. We bleed the hearts and wallets of the public with our causes yet we don’t always live up to those values in our corporate behaviour.

The sector is exceptionally vigorous when de-crying the impact of public spending cuts. But are the public aware that this is sometimes driven by organisational self-interest – defending our own funding and services? Of course the cuts will have real impact on some much needed, if not essential, services and some could very likely be lost forever. But let us not only be the voice of commissioning, cuts and contracts. While we are vociferous when the axe could fall on our own finances, are we robust enough in articulating our passion for those most disadvantaged, isolated or discriminated against?

When it comes to services, we fall back on brand and unique selling proposition. We sell our services competitively – sometimes we defend the mediocre because it’s ours and just as often fail to share our intellectual property, and what works for our clients, because of the need to preserve competitive advantage.