2012 was the year that Invisible Children went pro. You remember the viral campaign, right? Kony 2012?
You should, because last year the outfit raised more than $32 million and they’re not too shy about admitting there’s been a bit of a windfall.
At June 30, they had $15.5 million in cash sitting around, up from $6 million the previous year, a slightly embarrassing amount they confirmed they didn’t know what to do with.
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As Christmas approaches, many Australians will be planning to donate to charity.
Few would realise, however, the incredible damage the Gillard government is about to unleash on the sector with the advent of the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission (ACNC), expected at some point before the end of the year.
The ACNC will force charities to adhere to a raft of new tax and compliance requirements, dissuade people from becoming involved with charities and turn people off from donating.
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Civil society comprises the groups of individuals which freely associate to pursue their mutual social, cultural, professional, sporting, religious or other communal interests.
They are the local carer’s groups. They are the sporting clubs, the congregations, the communities that fund and build schools, the welfare agencies, the bands of people who work together to support medical research, or assist the poor and afflicted, both here and overseas. They are the myriad of large and small associations that provide the organic vitality of our nation.
They have one thing in common. They are neither created nor controlled by the state. Instead, they arise from the desire to associate to fulfil common objectives. They are built on mutuality and trust.
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Student, young, idealistic, political. In need of money. The stereotype works against me, because it was for these reasons that I applied for a job at a large, secular, international charity (on an hourly rate, not commission) and was brought on as an advocate for the in-house team.
I’ve since quit, because the stress was damaging my health and interfering with my studies, but I still felt somewhat offended when I read the recent article that labeled human beings, doing their job, parasites.
Charity + parasitism = Charasites? It seems appropriate given the way the public view charity advocates: sneaky, manipulative, naive children who don’t know already that the world isn’t worth saving. On more than one occasion on the street when I invited somebody over with a friendly “Hello”, they wandered over with meagre interest and said half heartedly, “C’mon, give us your best pitch”, as if I were a casual amusement.
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Charities have moved from a modest Mary MacKillop model to a flashy, superficial Angelina Jolie one. Many are more mega mall than soup kitchen, they’re black tie, red carpet, all big bash and flash.
Australia has hundreds - maybe thousands - of charities, and clusters of them compete against each other for the same money, for the same aims. It’s only natural they are trying to find a competitive edge – but at the same time we expect them to be entirely ethical and any suggestion they are preying on the vulnerable is enough to make many put their cash back in their pocket.
News Ltd investigations have revealed that fundraisers for major charities are being told to target the rich, the “vulnerable, elderly and dying” and to avoid the ‘POYSN’ – the “poor, old, young, stupid and non-English speakers”. Marketing companies employed by charities tell doorknockers they can earn up to $3000 and become rich.
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Giving to help others is a beautiful thing. But is anyone finding the increased aggression of “chuggers” is destroying a lot of that goodwill?
There are a lot of Australians doing it tough through no fault of their own and it’s our duty to help as a payback for the privilege of being part of the community.
Welfare groups are also suffering from the big squeeze. Donations are drying up because of the tough economic times and the demand for their services is increasing for the same reason.
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As the whiskers of tens of thousands of Aussie blokes wash down the drains of homes today, thousands of nubile young women are rejoicing.
It is the end of “Movember”, the month formerly known as November which raises money for prostate cancer research and initiatives to combat male depression.
While the charity is one of the most brilliant health campaigns ever enacted, women around Australia are ecstatic we no longer have to give Aussie men some lip about their top lip.
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The simple act of having a quiet beer with friends, or even a slightly loud one, has now become a fraught operation.
Not that long ago you could ring a mate with confidence and suggest a relaxed catch-up in a licensed setting. Now you have to check the calendar to make sure it isn’t Dry July or Febfast or Ocsober or Just Say No-vember, and that your once-entertaining companion hasn’t signed on for a month of sobriety to raise money for kiddies who are suffering from Tourette’s Syndrome.
As the kiddies themselves might say, bollocks to that.
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Believe it or not, Senate Inquiries can generate all sorts of humorous exchanges.
A hearing earlier this week into the Tax Laws Amendment (Public Benefit Test) Bill generated so much laughter at one point, you could be forgiven for thinking you were watching ‘Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure’ instead.
It went something like this. When discussing the impact of the introduction of a Charities Commission in New Zealand, the Church of Scientology’s New Zealand Secretary, Michael Ferriss, explained that the organisation’s income of $2.623 million in 2007 fell to $374,000 the following year because of, “from memory, the exchange rate drop”.
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It was disturbing to read recently that 122 humanitarian workers lost their lives in strife torn countries last year, but even more disturbing to read the reason why.
Aid workers are now often seen in some of the most desperate and violent places in the world to be covert activists, even spies, working against the thugs, dictators and/or clerics who run the hellholes where aid workers try to go about their business.
That makes them targets.
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