There’s no doubt a joke somewhere about how many Charity Employees it takes to change a lightbulb. Actually, thinking about it, there probably isn’t.
Given that there’s only 2 of us at Headcase ( both volunteers), I often think how amusing it is that other Charities have plentiful numbers of employees with rather grandiose sounding titles like Head of Stakeholder Relations (eh? what?). Many have Senior Leadership Teams (Consultancy Bingo anyone?) and, of course, many have the ubiquitous Database Manager (my personal favourite).
A Database Manager (salary c£35,000) does what exactly? Manages a contact database (Excel spreadsheet or Access Database with names and addresses). £35k a year for that? Message to CEOs of Charities… Do it yourself!
Just how many lightbulbs… sorry, employees does a Charity need? The answer is far less than most actually have. How much does a Charity CEO get paid? What exactly does a Head of Stakeholder Relations do for their salary? How does what someone is paid, let’s be honest, from money raised through fundraising and donations, added what they actually do, relate directly to finding a cure for brain tumours?
Many Charities are run by ‘proper’ business people, apparently. But are they 21st century business people? Do they see what’s going on around them? You don’t need loads of employees to prove you are a business. People don’t care how many employees you’ve got when they are thinking about donating or fundraising. They care about how much money a Charity spends needlessly on admin… how much its CEO gets paid… how much of their donation is actually going towards the Charity’s purpose.
Don’t get me wrong, most Charities need employees and people shouldn’t work for free unless they want to. But do they need so many? Does their CEOs need to be paid so much? If they had less then more money would be available for their Charitable Purposes.
Charities can drastically cut their HR budgets, deliver more into research and actually make some progress in finding a cure for brain tumours. At Headcase we do crazy things like engaging with scientists (believe it or not!) to be our Scientific Advisors. We cut out every single cost we can so that over 98% of our donations go straight to research.
So how many Heads of Stakeholder Relations, Leadership Teams and Database Mangers does it take to change a lightbulb?