Log onto any reputable recruitment site and you’ll notice a wide variety of well-paid jobs working for charities. From administrator to director level, the charity sector is no longer limited to well-meaning volunteers and people with the time and personal resources available to support charitable work.
However, look a little closer and you’ll notice many of them, particularly the ones offering £30,000 a year or more, are for fundraising positions. Behind every policy analyst, services co-ordinator and graphic designer employed full time by the charity, there is a fundraising team working hard to raise the money needed both to deliver the organisation’s charitable aims and to cover their overheads.
Meanwhile the public sector still soldiers on, attempting to navigate the national and local needs of the populous: often providing the very support structures that charities can not succeed without. Funded by a combination of local and national taxes, the public sector may not have the same onus on finding its own cash flow, but it is expected to deliver results with what is available.
You may be the kind of person who is drawn to working for either the charity or the public sector, or indeed both. That is a noble thing. And, despite the occasionally large salaries available in these sectors at senior level, you will have to make peace with the fact you will not become rich in this line of work. You are however statistically more likely to donate your disposable income to charity. And, unless you have a really good accountant, you probably give as much tax as is required of you.
Hearing about the latest cuts in public sector funding, the local services that can not be supported, and the smaller charities that can no longer compete in their increasingly competitive environment, it feels as though the generosity of the moneyed middle classes can’t sustain our social aims. And so we turn to our entrepreneurs for help: our friends, family and complete strangers with a mind for business and an eye for profit.
As Christians, we don’t always celebrate financial and business success. Oh, we celebrate reaching our target for the church roof fund, we rejoice in the generosity of the congregation on giving days and we take a few moments to pray over the collection on a Sunday. But we don’t hold up the richer members of our church family as paragons of the capitalist society in which we live. Jesus may have said that it is harder for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven, but he was also laid to rest in a rich man’s tomb.
Some rich people remain rich because they aren’t generous with their disposable income or because they find ways around paying tax, but not all of them; society needs rich and charitable alike to thrive. Charities should be made accountable for the money they raise and the money they spend. Likewise public sector investment should be transparent and open to scrutiny. But how about bringing to the fore those members of our church family that do make more money, exhorting them to acts of generosity and encouraging others to take their lead?