Problem

Unethical practices of philanthropic organizations


Experimental visualization of narrower problems
Other Names:
Corruption in charitable organizations
Charity fraud
Charity malpractice
Abuse of non-taxable status
Embezzlement of donations
Illegal activities of philanthropic groups
Intimidation by officials of charitable bodies
Defrauding of charities
Nature:
Among the most serious abuses associated with charities is that of tax evasion, especially where charities are linked to companies to reduce liabilities. Excessive amounts may be expended by charities in fund-raising thus damaging public confidence in charities. Mismanagement of charity funds and inadequate control and reporting procedures all serve to conceal abuse.
Incidence:
In the UK in 1991 it was estimated that as much as £120 million of tax revenue may be lost through manipulation of the charity law. In 1989 only 15,200 accounts of charities were submitted as required, and a further 3,300 after prompting; these represented 11% of the total charities registered. In the UK it was estimated in 1993 that only 3% of the £300 million spent on charity Christmas cards actually reached charities, the remainder went to retailers, card manufacturers and middlemen. The founder of one of the UK's leading mental health charities was forced to resign her link with the organization after a verdict of mismanagement and that she had failed to separate her personal affairs from those of the charity. Whilst there was no reason to believe money had been diverted into private hands, there had been disregard for proper financial management and a confusion of financial accounts and property documents.

In 1996, a Brussels businessman was convicted of defrauding the charity SOS Sahel, founded in the 1970s to raise money for humanitarian projects in Africa. Much of the money raised went into the his pockets and those of his associates, two of whom are also in prison.

Claim:
Advantage may be taken of the favourable image and tax status of philanthropic bodies to perpetrate financial frauds, whether through a single organization or by seemingly innocent transfers of funds within a network of such bodies. The disinterest and benevolent character of such bodies may also be used as a front for the dissemination of misleading information or for more or less disguised forms of brainwashing (as in the case of certain cults). Such bodies may also be used as a vehicle for egotistical individuals and personality cults.
Broader Problems:
Unethical practices
Strategies:
Informing about fraud
Problem Type:
E: Emanations of other problems
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 3: Good Health and Well-beingGOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic GrowthGOAL 12: Responsible Consumption and ProductionGOAL 13: Climate ActionGOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong Institutions
Date of last update
02.02.1997 – 00:00 CET