You are probably too busy working for Australian nonprofits to listen to lengthy discussions about the future of Australian nonprofits but it’s OK – we have you covered.
RN’s Life Matters (a great friend of Hootville) recently interviewed Dr Stephen Judd who is the CEO of faith-based Hammond Care who feels that charities have “lost their way”. He has contributed to a new book Driven by Purpose: Charities that Make the Difference (forward by Rev Tim Costello). We won’t be buying it.
We found the interview annoying. Dr Judd’s statements are broad in the extreme. He feels that many “charities” have lost their way and have no clear sense of who / what they are. His specifics are few though we certainly sense his agenda: faith-based = good; secular = bad.
The one example he gives of a charity with a clear idea of itself is a faith-based medical outfit in the ACT which refuses to provide vasectomies despite being government funded. This is apparently a positive example.
He also decries religious organisations changing their name to something less Godly.
When explaining the proliferation of faith-based Australian nonprofits he fails to mention the issue of religious organisations and their tax-exempt status. In many sectors (education, disability, employment services) private, tax-paying services must tender against tax-protected faith-based organisations.
About 8 minutes in he also claims that donors prefer to give to faith-based charities as opposed to a “dodgey brothers” option. That’s bloody insulting to non faith-based services, the thousands who toil in them and millions who donate to them.
Dr Judd also favours the word “charity” as opposed to “nonprofit” but frankly we don’t care as much about that as the other stuff though we note that Hammond Care is a $140 million organisation which proudly describes itself as a “Catholic, independent, charity”.
In truth this extremely large nonprofit runs almost exclusively on government funding. Its annual report shows that it is 72% government funded, 18% fee for service funded and only 3% donation funded.
That’s a lot of dodgey secular tax dollars in the form of government contracts and a very small percentage of charity making things possible. Hardly independent.
An an organisation that is only 3% donor driven which calls itself a “charity” could be perceived as being awfully cute with the truth. About 97% cute.
Your comments welcome.