The Presidents Club dinner: Charity Clarity’s view

An undercover reporter from the Financial Times newspaper found that hostesses working at the Presidents Club annual men-only dinner had been subject to sexual harassment and inappropriate behaviour. It’s alleged this practice had been going on for many years.
 
A poll of more than 1,600 adults commissioned by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations found that 67% of respondents said charities that had benefited from Presidents Club funds should retain the donations, whereas 20% thought they should return the money. The remainder were unsure.
 
76% of over-65s saying they should do keep the money, compared with 59% of 18 to 24-year-olds.
 
Our view is that this uproar is confusing. A cursory look at the Presidents Club accounts for the last 33 years shows an atrociously small amount of money actually reaches good causes. They had no women on their Board, a lack of diversity in the organisation, admin costs were high, and no real evidence of impact had ever been produced. They would get a poor Charity Clarity rating.
 
Some of the charities that took the money are now giving it back – given the organisation has existed for 33 years, isn’t it incumbent on the recipients to do even a little due diligence as to where their money was coming from?
 
At Charity Clarity, we come across exceptional business people every day that have worked hard, built a business and contribute to wonderful causes every day. On January 22nd, we attended a wonderful fundraiser for our Charity Awards winner One Kind Act that did just that.
 
We don’t agree with Angela Kail’s assessment from NPC that this tarnishes philanthropists everywhere.
 
It does show the need for a Charity Clarity rating however. Presidents Club would have ranked very poorly in our metrics. It is incumbent on charities in the sector that accept large donations and fancy dinners to understand where their money comes from and whether they can raise is “better” from other philanthropists.