ImpACT Coalition urges charities to increase transparency in new publication

20th June 2013

The ImpACT Coalition, a movement seeking to improve transparency and accountability in the UK charity sector, has today published 'Through a glass darkly: the case for accelerating the drive for accountability, clarity and transparency in the charity sector'.

Following on from the principles set out in the ‘Transparency Manifesto’, this new publication brings thought pieces from leaders and representatives across disciplines in the sector, and addresses some of the issues and challenges in increasing transparency in charities as well as the arguments for doing so.

Alan Gosschalk, Director of Fundraising at Scope and Chair of the ImpACT Coalition said: “Being truly accountable to our stakeholders should be a key priority for any charity. However, it’s not always easy to do, and it’s not always easy to know what information should or shouldn’t be opened up to scrutiny. We’re delighted to be publishing this collection of thought pieces comprehensively covering the latest evidence and theory to make the case for why transparency is important, and how we might become more accountable through it. We hope this publication, and the questions raised in it, will stimulate further debate in this area.”

“At a time where charities are under a huge amount of pressure to demonstrate the impact of what they do and to justify their actions, we believe that transparency is the way forward - answering our critics with the truth about why we do what we do.”

The publication, which included contributions from ACEVO, CFG, IoF, FRSB, PFRA and NPC was launched today at an event hosted by Standard Life Wealth. One of the contributors and a speaker at this morning’s event, Kate Lee, CEO at Myton Hospice Group, said: “Getting the benefits of transparency, be it for your organisation or the whole sector, needs senior managers and boards to be brave and go for it. This is about telling an honest story about what we achieve and how we achieve it to those we are accountable too.. Our donors and our beneficiaries."

The five questions set out by the ImpACT Coalition in ‘Through a Glass Darkly” are:

1. How as a sector can we achieve a step change in transparency, in response to the growing demands for such change likely to result from shifting attitudes, the tight financial climate, and greater transparency in other sectors?

2. Building on the work of organisations like the PFRA, how can charity leaders and fundraisers be supported to put their heads above the parapet and explain and defend to the public how modern charities work, championing transparency in their own organisations?

3. How could funders support charities to produce higher-quality evidence on the impact of what they do, and actively encourage charities to learn from their mistakes in an open and honest way?

4. How can we increase the relevance of financial information charities report to stakeholders (e.g. through changes to the Charity SORP)?

5. Does the sector need a “public education initiative” to ensure people understand how modern charities work and why?


- Ends -

Notes to Editors:


1. The ImpACT Coalition is a movement of over 400 third sector organisations that seek to improve accountability and transparency and increase public understanding of how charities work. More information can be found at www.acevo.org.uk/impact


2. For more information on 'Through a glass darkly', please contact Katherine Smithson at katherine.smithson@cfg.org.uk or call on 020 7250 8347.

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