Paul Kelly, former CEO of Console, at The National Mental Health Conference in Newbridge, Co Kildare in 2013
Stay away from them, all of them and don’t give them cash.
Frilly Keane writes
The biggest issue with Charities registered for Tax purposes (CHY) and or with the Regulator, is not that there are too many of them, or that there are too many of them competing for your attention, or for the next Ladies Who Lunch photo op with the big cheque, or for the cute hoor tax benefits, or that there are too many of them filling in for basic Health services.
It’s the cash.
The cash that goes into the bucket at the traffic lights, the cash that gets collected in exchange for a raffle ticket, or the cash from the cake sale, the cardboard money boxes, the bingo nights, the sponsorship cards, the cash the cash the cash.
There is no possible way of accurately recording a single cent of it that can be capable of providing assurance; to the giver, the receiver, or the public-at-large.
I’ve already told ye ta’ stay away from them, all of them. Volunteer your time instead, provide direct assistance yourself, just don’t give them cash.
So this week, I’m going to lob sum’ting else out there.
Get rid of this Charitable Status lark altogether – be a licensed Not-For-Profit (NFP) organisation instead.We already have the set-up to vet, license, regulate and monitor these type of Not-For-Profit enterprises; let me introduce you to the Central Bank of Ireland.
Incorporate or don’t incorporate, be a partnership or a co-op or a single person entity; just don’t call it a charity.
Once an applicant, any applicant, passes through a Central Bank process, then let them apply for zero rated VAT, Income Tax/ Corporation Tax etc.
Anyone reading this that has any experience of Central Bank registration and regulation will know that these are the people to manage this NFP Licensing.
These newly licensed NFPs must be required to treat all receipts as Sales Income, and provide the ‘customer’ a Sales Receipt. That customer now has an allowable expense for tax purposes from a Licensed NFP vendor.
If the Not-For-Profit is a payee of a State Agency, like the HSE, then, (I’m sure there already is but…) there must be an Engagement Letter or a Service Agreement, or a Grant Application suite of criteras and conditions; so it must naturally apply that as per the terms of the Engagement/ Agreement, bill them as an Invoice/ Payment becomes due.
Raise a numbered itemised Invoice, and there’s your documented claim for services rendered. If the services are billed for fraudulently, those Central Bank officials will have that NFP shut down before another credit card gets charged.
Something else I’d like to see more attention paid to and that is how they report their income.
Reporting Gross Income in the Financial Statements is not enough, even if there are line entries presenting the other sources of Income, i.e. Bequests, Fundraising Activities, Healthcare Insurers,
Research Grants and on ‘n on. Financial Statements already come with notes, so why shouldn’t every Income transaction be available in a .pdf for a full drill-down by any member of the public?
Likewise with a particularly High Profile event, especially those that go into schools, like the lollipops and the Lenten campaigns.
Most if not all of the management accounting packages export into excel anyway so making it a requirement for NFPs is hardly a burden on their resources.
NPFs should only be allowed carry Ring-fenced Reserves on their Balance Sheets, ring-fenced meaning for a specific project or activity that is long term or strategic like say a Training Centre or a new Club House.
The same goes for Assets, these must be tested and site inspected by Auditors to ensure they are still in use by the NPF, and their ownership is in the best interests of the NPF. Disposals of any Assets must be referred to third parties and approved by the Central Bank.
Charities and other voluntary and community organisations, large, small, National, Parochial or Multi National have been getting away with eff’all oversight and accountability when it comes to the receiving and distribution of its cash for too long.
STOP indulging them with your disposable cash and STOP giving them the comfort of your apathy.
If the NFP is not up to it, the Central Bank of Ireland are the crew to suss them out. If they evolve into ‘insert any one of the CHY blackguards here’ then CAB, again we already have them at our disposal, are the protective services the Irish Citizen must defer to.
And we must. Acquiring monies under false pretenses it fraud. And so is everything else after that.
I appreciate this is all a bit too high-end and corporate for the smaller and more local community based organisations, but this is how ye’ll get to know yere local Garda Superintendent and Peace Commissioner.
Fundraising for Summer Schemes, Parents Associations, Politicians, and Clubs for all shapes, colours, and postcodes must apply for permission for their non-membership income seeking events.
On their permission application they must nominate an independent non-connected individual to verify the cash collected, and that must only be counted in groups of 3 or more, and that it is only spent for the purpose for which it was earned.
Non-Connected is very important. Canvassing anyone to support a fundraising event that provides cash to pay for your own kids’ summer jobs or to subsidize their tennis lessons can easily be qualified as filling your own pockets, so avoid that risk.
Because guess what? That’s where it all started.
Night night folks; hay ta’be saved n’all that.
BTW, there are some interesting Frill Fillers for ye in the next few weeks, so behave.
Frilly keane’s column appears here every Friday. Follow Frilly on Twitter: @frillykeane