Doctor and activist

Giving Out Money Problems

Giving Out Money is not easy.
Many are worried about big charities- how much actually gets to the people who need it?
The government has not managed to give out the Bushfire relief money and it seem that neither has the Red Cross. Now they are promising help for the Corona Virus epidemic- do they have any credibility left?

Some charities seem to have big offices, pay commissions to collectors, or drive around in 4WDs and stay in big hotels. Only a few days ago World Vision was involved in a scandal.

I worked with a fellow who collected for a worthy cause. He was supposed to get 50% of what he gave to the worthy cause, but he used to photocopy receipts, so they got much less than what he collected. He used to boast that he looked people in the eye and asked them how they would feel if they were in that situation; twanging on heartstrings as he worked what was largely a con.

Bill Gates and others set up Foundations and hopefully do a good job of managing their projects.

The Federal government gives out money via Centrelink, but their niggardly and bureaucratic approach means that they are mainly concentrated on giving out as little as possible. The assumption is that everyone is cheating until proved otherwise. Insurance companies have a similar model.
The government is going to give money for apprentices, business loans, but only ‘one-off payments’ to pensioners and welfare recipients. Economic theory says that welfare recipients spend all of the money they get so have the best effect on stimulating the economy, but facts don’t get in the way of harsh judgements about ‘worthy and unworthy poor’.

I always think that if a problem is identified and you want to criticise, you should think what you would do if you were in charge. Often you do not know enough, but would start with a best guess and improve it. When the fires were on I ended up at the emergency centre in Mittagong RSL late at night. The Salvation Army and quite a lot of volunteers were collecting names and contact details of people there. Some has lost their houses, most had been evacuated and were were waiting nervously to see what fate brought overnight. So if I had a few million dollars in donated money, it would seem sensible to get those lists and match them with the lists of what houses and businesses had burned down. Work out roughly how much money there was per head or per household and start phoning them. Most people are honest and in the end it is question of whether you trust people or not. Some may be overpaid, but most will have far more need that can be met. Sitting on the cash is actually a fraud on the donors.

As far as the government is concerned, I have little faith. Money is announced, but not where it will come from. Will it be taken from NDIS or some other worthy project? More transparency is needed. I am not holding my breath.

(Written 12/3/20 re Bushfire money)

Arthur Chesterfield-Evans

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