When the coronavirus pandemic took hold early in 2020, charities were among the first to respond to the resulting social and economic distress. But recent scandals and a more critical climate have overshadowed the vital role they play.
What Have Charities Ever Done for Us? rebalances the debate, using case studies and interviews to illustrate how charities support people and communities, foster heritage and culture and pioneer responses to crucial social, ethical and environmental questions.
It also sets the historical context, examines cases that have attracted criticisms, analyses the political response and considers how the governance, transparency and independence of charities could be improved.
Charities at their best are the conscience of society and benefit most people at some point in their lives. This book brings to life the breadth and depth of their work and the contribution they make to social progress.
Who is this book for?
A must-read for anyone in the UK voluntary sector and the general public at large who want to understand the true value of charities in today’s society.
‘In an age when generalised cynicism extends to charities and their donors, it is important to be reminded of the good achieved by those who set up, run and voluntarily donate their time and money to try and make things better. The charity sector is under-appreciated, often patronised and rarely given sufficient credit. I hope this book helps to change that.’
Beth Breeze, Centre for Philanthropy, University of Kent
‘A useful and timely reminder of the many ways in which charities support the wellbeing of people in Britain, both in crisis and out of it. Packed with data, and information behind the data, on the evolution of the sector over recent decades and its condition today, a vital resource for anyone who cares about the future of charity in the UK.’
Gus O’Donnell, Frontier Economics and Pro Bono Economics
‘Journalistic appeal and outstanding expertise combine to provide an impartial, comprehensive understanding of the sector. Perceptive insights into current opportunities suggest even greater future roles for charities.’
Charles Jardine, London South Bank University
‘This timely book describes the inter-dependent web of charities and civil society organisations and the public good they bring and clearly illuminates a world that is too often misunderstood … it will help those in charities, and those who observe them, to navigate our increasingly uncertain future.’
Dame Julia Unwin, Civil Society Futures
Have a look inside What have charities ever done for us?
About the authors
Stephen Cook is a journalist and author with extensive experience in national newspapers and magazines, including 18 years at The Guardian and many years at the helm of Third Sector Magazine. He has published five novels and two non-fiction books.
Tania Mason is a journalist, copywriter, editor and events producer with more than 25 years’ experience across various industries, most recently charities and civil society. She currently edits Governance & Leadership magazine.
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