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Dispelling common myths about charities

Written by: Kristina Kopic, Head of Charity and Voluntary Sector, ICAEW
Published on: 29 Jun 2023

Charities play a vital role in society. They provide a diverse range of services, including working with disadvantaged groups, contributing to tackling medical conditions, the promotion of the arts, education and amateur sport, and many other social and environmental issues. People’s goodwill and generosity remain the lifeblood of the sector, but this is at risk if the public misunderstand what charities do and how they operate.

Although many smaller charities may be run by volunteers, most larger charities need to spend money on operations and infrastructure, including hiring, training and retaining staff. Investment in technology and infrastructure allows charities to operate more efficiently and can save money in the longer term.

Charities can attract criticism about whether they are using the right mix of volunteers and paid employees, or whether too much is being spent on senior managers and overheads. Isolated incidents of malpractice in the charity sector can also influence public perceptions. These are some of the challenges that trustees will need to think about before they set up and operate a charity.

ICAEW and experienced charity auditors have come together to share their perspectives on common myths about how charities operate. Join our launch webinar on 14 July to find out more about our upcoming publication and to hear practical tips on how charities can use transparent reporting to educate stakeholders in areas where misconceptions are prevalent.