Good ethics in
the third sector
We support charities and social enterprises
with Good ethics, nurturing others as if they
were our own. Here are some early
insights and initiatives.
The name of Good Works embodies a twist to the traditional meaning of the term ‘good works’ which is ‘acts of charity’. We certainly have charitable aims and we are currently a non-registered charity pending the completion of pilots so that we can formulate a long term sustainable strategy and select the best form of incorporation for Good works. But our focus is on making business in all its forms, more civil and more civilising rather than picking up the pieces of what business leaves behind when it has done its trading. This means traditional forms of charity such as raising money to help the disadvantaged have not been among our aims and priorities. At the same time, we appreciate that conventional charity is a major part of life and just as business cannot operate in a bubble, neither can Good Works.
During our development we have engaged with charities as best we can with our limited resources as a start-up. We have learnt that Good ethics are just as relevant as they are for business. Good ethics can help charities, their workers, their beneficiaries and society to flourish together. We have also learnt that charities are an essential part of the entrepreneurial part of the economy and society – bringing together creativity and passion to address opportunities and issues that have not yet been served by the private and public sectors. Or rather created by the private or public sectors. Opposite are three charities we have engaged with which we would like to bring to your attention.
For good measure we also include below a weblink to an interesting article which highlights some of the challenges that charities face in positioning themselves in today’s world. This article was shared by our member Alessia Cesana on Twitter @uponacloud.
Five reasons why you should never get a job in the charity sector by Alex Swallow @AlexSwallow Twitter and blog
Just like any other sector in the economy and society there is a right way and a wrong way and no one has a monopoly on wisdom or good. Alex deftly disassembles some assumptions about charities in his blog to illustrate this point.
The Thai Children’s Trust (TCT) embodies the spirit of persistence. When Good works had only just started they got in touch and would not take no for an answer. In a way they shook us out of our complacency. And once you get to know them that is no surprise because this charity embodies Good ethics.
It started as a grassroots initiative with a Catholic priest assigned to an island in Thailand that hosted a US airbase established to support the war with Vietnam. The result was it became a magnet for the sex industry and this priest found himself picking up unwanted new born babies on the beach.
Decades later this charity now support thousands of orphan children including providing specialist care for the handicapped who are poorly catered for in a country which is struggling to maintain its traditional networks of charity with the onset of globalisation and everything that comes with it. Click here to visit their website.
CAFOD is a Catholic charity that began with a group of women discussing global poverty over coffee and grew into the official aid agency of the Catholic Church in England and Wales and part of Caritas International. Across the world CAFOD bring hope and compassion to poor communities, standing side by side with people of all faiths and none to end poverty and injustice. Inspired by Scripture and Catholic Social Teaching, and the experiences and hopes of people living in poverty, CAFOD works for a safe, sustainable and peaceful world.
When Good works was just an idea, CAFOD helped us clarify our vision and has been side by side with us since then. CAFOD co-hosted our latest Buffet Talk at their headquarters Romero House in central London and we co-developed the event with Anna Cronin Nowakowska.
The Funding Network embodies many Good ethics. It is a grassroots initiative started by three neighbours with some money to spare who wanted to make sure they could make the biggest possible impact as philanthropists. So they started this crowdfunding charity which engages donors in an event which has a touch of ‘Dragon’s Den’ about it. Three charities that are still in their early days make a pitch and then TFN persuade the crowd to part with their cash and so that each charity can meet a target sum for the night. The charities get to meet the donors and recruit volunteers and partners. So the whole process is far more than just handing over some cash.
TFN started in London but has now just spread its wings to Dublin and it also has a thriving arm aimed at younger adults too to engage them in philanthropy and volunteering while they are still at University. Click here for their website
The Hackney Winter Night Shelter was one of the inspirations behind Good Works. Co-founder Nick Franchini has volunteered for the charity at the homeless shelter run on Tuesday nights at his local Catholic parish church. In over ten years no one has ever asked Nick to fill in a form and if you ask many of the volunteers they could not tell you much about what the charity does beyond the night shelter they work in. They might not know that it is a confederation of almost 20 churches and other places of worship that provides a shelter 7 days a week. Our parish manages to provide a shelter on Tuesdays for the duration of its operation from November to March whilst other nights are shared between different churches. There is minimum bureaucracy or marketing.
Instead there is a simple focus on welcoming guests as if they are coming into your own home with everything that means. That joyful aim is the only thing that the volunteers have in common as they come from all walks of life and of different faiths or no faith. Retired people work seamlessly alongside students from local Sixth Forms and professional link workers who ensure that every opportunity is made to find the guests a home and a job. Click here for their website.