Skeletons in the closet

June 7, 2011 at 11:22 am Leave a comment

By Usman Mir

A cynic may claim that a charities unwillingness to collaborate despite the obvious benefits it would yield is because it may have something to hide. Collaborating requires a degree of openness and transparency that some may find uncomfortable. The source of this unease arguably stems from some insecurity about the manner in which an organisation conducts itself within the confines of their offices.

It is in our nature to conceal that which we do not want known, and this behaviour can be found in governments, political parties, corporations, so why not in charities? Conversely, when you have nothing to hide, then you have nothing to fear when exposing yourself to the scrutiny of others. Problematically, therefore if an organisation feels they have something to hide, then the idea of collaboration is simply unpalatable.

How can this be overcome therefore? The donor community must employ greater scrutiny when donating to charities, it is not enough to simply hand over the money and claim that “Allah knows best”. If a beggar approached you on the street and asked for any spare change, and you had even the slightest inkling that this beggar would use the money for cigarettes or alcohol, would you be inclined to hand over your spare change? Most likely not. In this situation we would not be leaving things to Allah’s knowledge – so why do it for greater matters? The donor community has the leverage to demand greater transparency of their charities, and a perfect litmus test to this transparency, is to consider a charities willingness to collaborate.

Collaboration becomes a self regulating phenomenon.

A truly saddening example of such skeletons, are the financial irregularities that are currently being investigated by Oxfam, with respect to aid given for the Pakistan flood relief. You can read all about it on the following link:

Surely, if collaboration brings about greater transparency amongst charities, then this is reason enough to embrace this move.

Entry filed under: Charities, Funding, Unity.

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