20 April 2007

Why does the Salvation Army have to solicit donations when it gets so much government support?

Each Friday is Badge Day in Adelaide. According a longstanding custom, a designated charity is allowed to solicit donations in the streets. Today it was the turn of the Salvation Army, a worthy body with a long tradition of helping ("delivering services to" is the current term) poor and disadvantaged people.

Why am I saying this? Because the Salvation Army has sold out to Caesar, ie the Federal government, from which it receives a large proportion of its income, and does so as a result of a competitive tendering process which gives an advantage to large organisations like them, and which has resulted in a number of smaller community based not for profit organisations being forced or downsize or, in some cases, disband.

No doubt the Salvos do a good job, but it's done mostly with taxpayers money, so I can't see why they need to get out on the streets shaking their collecting tins. Years ago when they raised money by selling the War Cry in pubs they had a lot of respect from the (mostly male) drinking class. The image of the clean cut, white shirted SA officer, in evidence today (I saw one male and one female) seems to be one of their strongest marketing tools which, given the range of their programs, the extent to which they're funded by government and their trampling over smaller likeminded organisations, is more than a little disingenuous.

1 comment:

Noel said...

Just to rub salt into the wounds of the Aussie taxpayer, in 2006 the Salvos were caught helping themselves to more government funds via Job Network. It may just have been over-enthusiastic employees who actually falsified claims for job placement, but responsibility goes to the top.

The Salvos were 'punished' by having previously allocated business withdrawn and being required to repay a large number of dollars. But nobody appeared in court [as far as I know].