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Poll: are big charities bullies?

This poll is about 9 years old

They have the might of professional staff and big marketing budgets, but does that give big charities the right to grab all the limelight?

Are big charities bullies?


Tiny volunteer-run charity Unite Against Cancer this week accused massive household name Cancer Research UK of stealing its fundraising idea. The two campaigns are remarkably similar, but this isn't the first time a large charity has taken a little known fundraising idea and made it huge.

Another cancer charity, Macmillan, was accused of muscling in on the ice-bucket challenge, which many argued was created by charities supporting people with Motor Neurone Disease (MND), also know as Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

The ALS Association in the United States then got into big trouble when it tried to trademark the ice-bucket challenge, as people wanted the right to use the challenge to raise funds for whatever cause they chose.

The thing is, big charities have the ability to take an good idea and make it huge, generating increasingly massive amounts of money for good causes. Should a little cause with a great idea resent their concept becoming a sensation if it all goes to charity in the end anyway? Does it matter who gets the credit? Is all fair in charity fundraising?

Tell us what you think by voting in our poll and please scroll down to leave a comment too.

Voting in this poll has now closed


0 0
about 9 years ago
It's not about who gets the 'credit' of having the idea. The money is going to different places despite the intention being the same. If someone has an idea that will help them fund what they think is the best research, that shows the most promise, then they should be able to reap the benefits of that idea; reaping the benefits, in this case, meaning having control of where the money generated from their idea ends up. Larger charities have much larger costs and are influenced by what avenues will generate the most financial profit for themselves. This simply doesn't factor into the decisions made by smaller charities. A larger charity taking the idea, and not sharing profits, is, just simply, through greed and is bullying by nature. Cancer research UK likes to focus on funding the endeavours of large pharmaceutical companies. At Unite Against Cancer, funding is focused on aiding better understanding of what happens at a cellular and how best to prevent cancer through, for example, lifestyle changes and education. It's also clear the author of the original article has taken it upon themselves to misconvey the message of Unite Against Cancer. Language, such as "stealing" was never actually used. The journalist appears to have adopted a slightly immature and lazy approach to this debate; attempting to be provocative, rather than informative.
0 0
about 9 years ago
It seems unfair for large charities to "muscle in" on campaigns started by smaller charities, but often the larger charity will be more deserving of donations because they are used to handling large amounts of money, can make it go further through economies of scale and allocate it to where it is most needed.
0 0
Craig Mcgregor
about 9 years ago
I can understand where Unite Against Cancer are coming from. What give a larger charity the right to steal other charities ideas? In any other context would this be acceptable? Because this is to do with the charity sector does not make it acceptable. There is a lack of transparency with regards to where the funds go with larger charities, which is not the case with smaller charities. Not everyone likes donating to big charities as they are run like businesses. I like to support smaller charities because I can see where my money is going. The main issue with this case is that the supporters of Unite Against Cancer could easily be mislead into thinking that Cancer Research UK are working with the other charity and may donate to Cancer Research UK instead of the other. I would personally feel pretty aggrieved to find out I had donated to the larger charity if I was made aware that they were not working together. Larger charities focus their funding on the most common cancer types, because that is where the funding is from the pharma companies. Smaller charities can choose where they spend their money more easily. I do not support the large charities because of shocking behaviour like this. Your view Susan is a rather uninformed and simplistic one. Your opinion suggests that you do not actually care too much about where the money is going. Smaller charities fill a niche. They collect donations that would otherwise not be made by people who do not want to donate to the large charities.
0 0
about 9 years ago
A couple of things strike me. The very quick loss of focus on what all cancer charities are trying to do. To be honest, it's the smaller charity that seems to have spent more time away from it's mission that anyone else. More transparent: I found oodles of information about Cancer research's spending very quick on it's website. None on the other's. OSCR shows income of c.£40k. Spend of c£10k. May be good reason for that but I'd have to request accounts to find out. They also do the usual claim that 100% income goes to the cause. Well, they'd be the first charity to to hold a dinner with no costs associated. It's just not the case that they have no outgoings at all. They also claim that Cancer research spend minority of donations on cause- certainly not what their accounts and messaging says- or are the lying as part of this big corporate conspiracy? And what precisely has been stolen?! A quick search on google shows that the unite theme has been used by cancer research before the other one was even founded. Wrist bands? Er, surely they are not seriously trying to trademark that. But they feel due some of cancer research's income. well, if i were one of their trustees I'd be asking serious questions about spending on a tiny charity operating that level of transparency, and making false claims about themselves and others. Now none of the TFN write up's would cover this as it doesn't help the story, and they are facts that would have got in the way. I don't particularly hold a candle for a lot of these "UK" charities, but this is all getting a bit carried away.
0 0
about 9 years ago
Of course a crucial problem with this poll is that larger charities have more staff and may push them to vote "no" - so is the poll result skewed?
0 0
John Brady
about 9 years ago
t seems that accusations of bullying may not be just related to size. The Feb 2 TFN story highlights how protesters occupied then blockaded a charity shop. Some might consider that as bullying of volunteers and low paid charity workers.
Commenting is now closed on this post