Are we looking forward to being a membership charity?

A place to discuss the issues relating to the proposed change in the national CTC’s structure.

Are we looking forward to being a membership charity?

Postby meic » Fri Dec 18, 2009 9:31 pm

I havent a clue if I am.
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Re: Are we looking forward to being a membership charity?

Postby thirdcrank » Fri Dec 18, 2009 10:42 pm

One of my hobby horses is what happened to the charity Age Concern, when they took things in the other direction.

Age Concern used to be a confederation of a lot of local Age Concerns - amost 300 I think - each an autonomous charity under the umbrella of the national charity, Age Concern England. Then, there was a bright idea that £££ was to be made by forming a membership organisation which would compete with the likes of Saga for all the trade of cash rich oldies and even some not-so-oldies ie 50+. The organisation was called "Heyday" and it developed a momentum of its own. There has been some publicity recently about how Age Concern is merging with Help the Aged to form a single charity. What you don't see trumpeted is that Age Concern lost £22,000,000 through Heyday. And that's not minor overspending by some govt ministry but money raised locally in charity shops and a lot of effort by volunteers.

Sir Christopher Kelly, of MPs' expenses fame, was commissioned to investigate what had happened and his report is available as a PDF on here:

http://www.ageconcern.org.uk/AgeConcern ... 050609.asp

Well worth a read for anybody interested in how a big organisation can come off the rails by forgetting why they were there in the first place. IMO
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Re: Are we looking forward to being a membership charity?

Postby meic » Fri Dec 18, 2009 10:54 pm

When you become a registered charity, the government gives you some of your tax money back. However it demands conditions in return for this money.

So next year we will go to being a charity because everyone must always have more money. :cry:

How many years before someone proposes a motion at the AGM which is dis-allowed because it violates our terms under the Charity Commision.

Also when we are out doing a club ride, I cant see why on earth it is any more of a charity than Meic's Beer Fund.
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Re: Are we looking forward to being a membership charity?

Postby bikepacker » Fri Dec 18, 2009 11:08 pm

In my opinion - no I better not give my opinion otherwise the mods will only pull the plug and the big chief will axe the forum.
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Re: Are we looking forward to being a membership charity?

Postby reohn2 » Sat Dec 19, 2009 10:20 am

It seems to me someone forgot that the CTC (Cycle Touring Club) is a cycle touring club :?
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Re: Are we looking forward to being a membership charity?

Postby reohn2 » Sat Dec 19, 2009 10:25 am

meic wrote:When you become a registered charity, the government gives you some of your tax money back. However it demands conditions in return for this money.

So next year we will go to being a charity because everyone must always have more money. :cry:

How many years before someone proposes a motion at the AGM which is dis-allowed because it violates our terms under the Charity Commision...........


Like Sustrans perhaps?
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Re: Are we looking forward to being a membership charity?

Postby Si » Sat Dec 19, 2009 3:18 pm

My immediate concern is not so much whether we adopt charity status or not, but the way that it has been presented. In the recent edition of Cycle a number of advantages of becoming a charity were detailed, but then it went on to say that the disadvantages had been looked at but were felt to be outweighed by the positives - no actual list of these disadvantages was given. What I would like to have seen would have been a detailed list of the positives (as was more or less given) followed by a detailed list of the negatives (rather than just an abstracted dismissal). Then each member would have been in a better position to make up their own minds.

But, coincidentally enough, a day before this thread appeared I received a message from Kevin suggesting that a thread about the charity proposal be created on the forum so that people could air their views - great minds obviously think alike meic :wink:

Hopefully this thread will offer an opportunity for supporters of both sides to put forward their views, and for us floating voters to ask the questions that we need to ask to form our own opinions. Rather like h*lm*ts, it's better that we each look at the evidence and make up our own minds rather than just voting the way that someone tells us.
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Re: Are we looking forward to being a membership charity?

Postby thirdcrank » Sat Dec 19, 2009 3:56 pm

meic wrote:When you become a registered charity, the government gives you some of your tax money back. However it demands conditions in return for this money. ...


I don't think that is quite right. To register as a charity, an organisation must have charitable aims and must comply with the rules which are monitored by the Charities Commission. Charitable status has substantial tax advantages. (That's how public schools are run - education being a charitable objective.) Non of this depends on the govt at all - so far so good.

Now, a lot of charities have very specific aims and have built up a lot of expertise on their subject. They are generally pretty effective campaigners to get more of the public £££ spent on their objectives. Some eyars ago, politicians realised that by sponsoring charities to do work in their specialist areas they would be using the experts. This is where the rot creeps in because the money inevitably comes with strings attached. The published strings are no problem, but the implied strings are "don't rock the boat" and thus, campaigning may be blunted, or even silenced. When megabucks are involved, charities can employ professional staff to do the sponsored projects and their priorities are rarely the same as those of committed volunteers. (As in, job at stake.) A stage further and the megabucks don't need to be spent - just dangled in a tantalising manner. The result is that a campaigning charity can soon be dancing to the government's tune.
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Re: Are we looking forward to being a membership charity?

Postby reohn2 » Sat Dec 19, 2009 4:37 pm

thirdcrank wrote:
meic wrote:When you become a registered charity, the government gives you some of your tax money back. However it demands conditions in return for this money. ...


I don't think that is quite right. To register as a charity, an organisation must have charitable aims and must comply with the rules which are monitored by the Charities Commission. Charitable status has substantial tax advantages. (That's how public schools are run - education being a charitable objective.) Non of this depends on the govt at all - so far so good.

Now, a lot of charities have very specific aims and have built up a lot of expertise on their subject. They are generally pretty effective campaigners to get more of the public £££ spent on their objectives. Some eyars ago, politicians realised that by sponsoring charities to do work in their specialist areas they would be using the experts. This is where the rot creeps in because the money inevitably comes with strings attached. The published strings are no problem, but the implied strings are "don't rock the boat" and thus, campaigning may be blunted, or even silenced. When megabucks are involved, charities can employ professional staff to do the sponsored projects and their priorities are rarely the same as those of committed volunteers. (As in, job at stake.) A stage further and the megabucks don't need to be spent - just dangled in a tantalising manner. The result is that a campaigning charity can soon be dancing to the government's tune.



Well said!
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Re: Are we looking forward to being a membership charity?

Postby thirdcrank » Sat Dec 19, 2009 6:15 pm

If I can hog the floor again with a PS AFAIK a charity cannot benefit its own members directly. By this I mean that you cannot set up an organization with charitable aims, charge a membership fee and then restrict your charity to the paying members - there has to be public benefit. (I'd have to say I don't know how public schools get around this but I think it is to do with giving a few free scholarships, and the Charities Commission has been sniffing round recently with that.)

I suppose the nearest thing to the CTC in this respect might be the AA and RAC. When the RAC was sold off (to the huge profit of the small number of people who were members of the Club) the RAC Foundation was formed as a charity - for long enough Edmund King was their head honcho (although I think he now does something similar for the AA.) Rescuing stranded motorists would only be charitable if they did it for everybody. I think it means that although CTC membership services might be provided by a charity called the CTC, it would have to provide them on a commercial basis, and any profits would go to the charitable purposes of the charity.

Incidentally, my reason for mentioning the demise of Age Concern is that somebody there got the idea that a commercial membership organisation would make oodles of £££, and nobody stopped to consider possible disadvatages, or if they did they were branded disloyal, old-fashioned etc. The local branches were generally kept in the dark or bamboozled. Meetings of the board, consisting of reps from all the local areas were unable to deal with those tactics. Some of the side-effects were not widely noticed: Age Concern used to be a powerful voice in the debate about closing final salary pension schemes but the loss of all this money meeant they had to close their own scheme so "it all went quiet over there."

Very sad.
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Re: Are we looking forward to being a membership charity?

Postby bikepacker » Sat Dec 19, 2009 7:00 pm

Si wrote:But, coincidentally enough, a day before this thread appeared I received a message from Kevin suggesting that a thread about the charity proposal be created on the forum so that people could air their views - great minds obviously think alike meic :wink:
.


We can air our views so long as they do not criticise him. Also no matter what membersip views are, he will cajole and even bully council members into supporting his inane proposals, thus givng the impression it is a good idea.

By the way Kevin you still haven't explained why the membership lent, no correct that, gave, the charitable trust £1.75 million if being a charity is so financially beneficial.
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Re: Are we looking forward to being a membership charity?

Postby meic » Sat Dec 19, 2009 9:02 pm

reohn2 wrote:
meic wrote:When you become a registered charity, the government gives you some of your tax money back. However it demands conditions in return for this money.

So next year we will go to being a charity because everyone must always have more money. :cry:

How many years before someone proposes a motion at the AGM which is dis-allowed because it violates our terms under the Charity Commision...........


Like Sustrans perhaps?



Exactly like Sustrans.
However we SHOULD exist for our members, NOT the general public (unless it helps OUR cause.)
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Re: Are we looking forward to being a membership charity?

Postby squeaker » Sun Dec 20, 2009 9:32 am

reohn2 wrote:It seems to me someone forgot that the CTC (Cycle Touring Club) is a cycle touring club :?
+1. I am concerned that charitable status will limit the ability of the club to campaign politically on behalf of its paying members.
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Re: Are we looking forward to being a membership charity?

Postby reohn2 » Sun Dec 20, 2009 9:45 am

squeaker wrote:
reohn2 wrote:It seems to me someone forgot that the CTC (Cycle Touring Club) is a cycle touring club :?
+1. I am concerned that charitable status will limit the ability of the club to campaign politically on behalf of its paying members.


It seems to me its all becoming about "attracting" funding :?
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Re: Are we looking forward to being a membership charity?

Postby irc » Sun Dec 20, 2009 11:50 am

There is a blog on the proposed change at http://witherthectc.blogspot.com/

I've not looked too deeply into it but my concern would be any tendency to chase other funding which might lead to compromises being made to fit with what was wanted by the government or any other body giving funds.

It seems however we are largely a charity already as any campaigning is done by the existing CTC Charitble Trust.
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