OPINION: When I was young, I was taught that charity was a good thing. My old clothes would be thrown into bins for children in Africa. I still feel sorry for the poor kid in Gambia or Togo who had to wear my awful purple nylon polo-neck skivvies, fawn flared slacks with a built-in elastic belt, and embroidered kaftans. But at least we knew what a charity was.
Today things are a little more confusing. Though the legislation covering charities is based on principles stretching back more than 400 years, some charities are occasionally deemed “non- charitable” by Charity Services, part of the Department of Internal Affairs, because they are seen as engaging in advocacy more than operating in the public good.
That is why Greenpeace and the Sensible Sentencing Trust are not registered charities. You may, like me, think that the National Council of Women is an excellent organisation that works in the public interest, yet until recently it did not qualify as a registered charity. But does it really matter if an organisation is registered or not? [Read more…]