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Getting the Message Across

Practical strategies to tackle public concerns about donating to charity

The summer of 2013 witnessed a flurry of newspaper coverage regarding the salaries of a number of charity CEOs, led by the Telegraph, which drew attention to the 30 charities whose chief executive’s salaries exceeded £100,000.1 The furore renewed longstanding sector debates on the potential of such publicity to damage public engagement with charities and provoked familiar concerns regarding public misperceptions of the way in which contemporary charities do and should operate.2 Were the media and public right to be angry about levels of executive pay, or were charities failing to make a strong case for why these were justified and necessary? What would that case look like if so? Do non-profit organisations genuinely have a problem with administrative costs and waste more generally, or is there an ongoing and problematic gap between public understandings of what the modern charity looks like, and the sophisticated reality?

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