There was a time, before the 1990s, where all disability charities had to do to raise money was put a disabled person, ideally a child, on a poster looking pitiful and describe how miserable their lives were to be on a winner. Then disabled people started to have a voice and made it very clear that they would not tolerate this abuse of their portrayal, and so these charities had to come up with a new way of promoting themselves, which was campaigning.
Campaigning started as a great fresh way of doing things but it has now become a problem in itself as everyone uses it. Campaigning is a way of charities to claim authority over an issue, and be a voice for a section of society, controlling their political contribution, often without the involvement of those they purport to represent, simply to be a ‘tear jerker’.
If we explore the news nowadays, a large proportion of it is simply controlled by charities who promote their campaigns as facts. If people knew that the campaign teams of many charities were made up of twenty something politically correct graduates who decided their campaigns on a whim, maybe this so-called news could be put in context. These teams think they can simply write a basic and leading questionnaire, promote it on social networks to those who will agree with them, especially with the leading questions, and then dare to report it as facts on the whole population, simplifying a complex issue, for the benefit of raising money, simply to pay their wages, and not help anyone else.
And the problem is while every disability charity claims to be the voice of disabled people is that they can contradict each other and here is a perfect example. Leonard Cheshire Disability has recently made a name for itself for trying to make 15 minutes social care calls illegal because they regard them as indefensible, declaring war on anyone who disagrees with them, which I do. While they use the image of a helpless isolated person having a get up call to win their argument, the fact is there are plenty of examples where a 15 minutes call may be suitable and desirable, which they will admit when pushed. But going against the spirit of personalisation, they want hours taken away from those with higher support packages to pay for 30 minutes calls to be imposed on people who may just need or want 15 minutes.
At the same time, Scope has been campaigning for people with moderate needs to have the level of social care they supposedly need or maybe want, although they fail to mention that could include people with broken legs and fails to take into account the use of technology or enablement. If Scope got their way, logic would dictate that those with moderate needs would need, want or prefer 15 minutes calls to assist them with the small amount of help they need. But Leonard Cheshire Disability is campaigning against 15 minutes calls and so by default campaigning against the needs of people with moderate needs.
Both charities claim to have the moral high ground and be the voice of disabled people, but can they both be right? I believe their true agenda is to bring more money into the national social care budget, so like the other providers, they can raise their care fees and so their ‘profits’, that exist in all but name, without actually improving the quality of service by helping more people with moderate needs or reducing the number of 15 minutes calls, probably increasing them. But because their call their marketing and political lobbying campaigning “on behalf of disabled people”, the public sees something so wonderful that it can not be challenged.
I believe charities will never be forced to be more accountable and change this abuse of the people they claim to represent until the general public properly understands what 21st century charities are and what they actually do, or don’t do, like help people. A perfect example is I am sure the NSPCA does not have a bank of trained volunteers working on Christmas Day peering through windows to make sure all the children in the country are having a good Christmas, but we are led to believe they are the only organisation that protects children, which begs the question of why do we have government funded children social service departments doing the same thing?
We should all know there are lies, damn lies and statistics, but that does not stop charities fooling the public with their fancy charts and misleading headlines as they use campaigning simply to keep themselves in business for the benefit of themselves, and often no one else. It is time for charities to stop campaigning, blaming the government for everything, and start going back to doing what they are supposed to be doing, which is helping the people who actually need their assistance.
– If you like what I say, have a look at my website at http://www.simonstevens.com or follow me on twitter, @simonstevens74