Thursday, 8 August 2013

Is it me?

Yes, its another one of my 'is it me' postings.

The Canal and River Trust has been around for a year now. For years there was a distinct antipathy amongst boaters for British Waterways. In the main because being a part of defra meant that there little requirement for being aware or to even care of the public's perception of BW's performance. Steamroller and roughshod were the watchwords. Now operating as a charity there is a need for a significant change in ethos. The public perception will be the biggest single factor to build a foreseeable future for CaRT. With the new role comes responsibility for that public perception. The management of that perception will require fairness, transparency and honesty.

My perception is that CaRT is still maintaining the old BW ethos when it comes to dealing with the inland waterways users as a group. More so with the boaters who see themselves as CaRT's primary waterway clientele. In this headlong 'dash for cash' CaRT has taken their eye off (if they ever had it on) the public perception ball. Knowing what I know now I could not in all honesty bring myself round to being a 'friend' of CaRT. I like to think that I am not exceptional when it comes to being a boater. I will say it again as I have said before I want CaRT to succeed because if for nothing else I have a vested interest in that success. CaRT cannot exist beyond the immediate future without the good will and wherewithal of the general public. The boaters are the eyes and ears of the canal and they are also ambassadors for the future. Unless CaRT can win the hearts and minds of all of the boating community. Then as a prospectus for the future CaRT will fail.

CaRT as a charity will be looking for handouts from many and varied sources. CaRT will certainly be looking for donations, legacies and financial gifts. 

Gifts and Donations:

Generally this income stream will come from individuals. Gifts and donations are a particularly important source of income for charities, which can also attract tax relief. However, the person giving a legacy has to be minded to leave the money in their will. The golden rule when looking for a legacy is that the donor will not want to risk their legacy being squandered or wasted. A task that CaRT will have to prove that the ways of the past are done and that a track record of success is theirs.

Raising funds through chugging is time-consuming and costly. In the early stages you could expect to lose a significant amount of money. You will need to know in short order if  your fundraising endeavours are effective and economic. Chugging is almost universally hated by the public. You may manage to raise funds but you may also be laying the foundation of your downfall. Is the publics perception of chuggers worth the risk to CaRT as a charitable brand. The big charities have been in chugged and as the public perception has changed they have done an early exit from the game. Some charities can chug with almost impunity because of what the charity represents. The charitable Canal and River trust does not hold the same cachet as  charitable giving for Cancer research or starving children. 

The moral and ethical dimension to fundraising:
Are you sure that your fundraising is seen as ethical. Have you ensured that the money will be spent for the purpose for which it was given. Are your fundraising activities likely to damage your charitable reputation in any way. Have you ensured that the money will be spent on the purpose for which it was given.  If your fund raising activities cannot pass the basic tests you can forget about the rest. 

As the canals fall further and further into decline due to the underspend on maintenance eventually something has got to give. If a charity starts out to deliberately under fund the maintenance of the infrastructure. The public will question why! They will also wanting to know what has been happening to the money that has not been spent on maintenance.

Could you imagine any other national monument being allowed to fall into such a parlous state?


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