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Good use of funds?

(17 Posts)
nandad Sun 16-Jan-22 10:20:14

For the past couple of years I have supported a local homeless charity. They run a couple of drop in centres, twice a week in different towns, where people get fed, can collect food and clothing parcels etc. They also do outreach in the evenings. All of their volunteers now have logo t-shirts, fleeces, masks, hats and aprons. There are about 25+ volunteers and I’ve noticed that some children are also kitted out.
My question is, is there some sort of tax break they are claiming in order to pay for these items? There are no sponsorship logos or wording, or crediting on their social media, so I assume the charity are paying for the items themselves. I am finding it difficult to reconcile the amount of money spent on this clothing rather than on helping their ‘clients’. The charity is too small to be lodging accounts with the Charities Commission.
Before I stop supporting them, has anyone come across this and can give me some information.

Kim19 Sun 16-Jan-22 10:28:39

Think I would start by having a word with the chairperson and move on depending on the satisfaction I have from that conversation.

Blossoming Sun 16-Jan-22 10:29:13

A lot of charities use this sort of clothing. It helps to identify the volunteer workers so people know who to approach or ask questions. The only way you can find out the cost and source of the funding is to ask the charity involved.

janeainsworth Sun 16-Jan-22 10:30:06

Why don’t you, as a supporter, ask them?
If the organisation has charitable status I doubt tax comes into it - what tax would they be paying that they could get relief on it?
One possible reason that occurs to me is that by volunteers wearing what approximates to a uniform, service users who will undoubtedly be vulnerable, can be reassured that the person dealing with them is genuine.
Another possibility is that the volunteers have paid for the clothing themselves.
Or that someone has donated money specifically for that purpose.

Riverwalk Sun 16-Jan-22 10:32:00

I have no direct experience.

Maybe it's important for the volunteers to be easily identifiable so their clients know who to approach. Also 'uniforms' can engender a sense of team camaraderie and encourage volunteers to feel valued.

Riverwalk Sun 16-Jan-22 10:33:19

Great minds ...

janeainsworth Sun 16-Jan-22 10:39:15


nandad Sun 16-Jan-22 11:14:27

I have emailed them about this but had no response.
I understand why it’s a good idea for identifiable clothing when they are out in the community but aprons when people are serving up food behind a counter? And children, what’s that about?
Must admit it hadn’t occurred to me that the volunteers may have paid for the clothing themselves.

Elizabeth27 Sun 16-Jan-22 11:25:02

Maybe they have used money from a grant which has a specified use or a clothing firm has donated them. Ask somebody that is likely to know.

Cabbie21 Sun 16-Jan-22 11:56:22

Maybe a firm donated them, or provided them at very low cost. Not sure who the children are or how they come into it, but for the actual volunteers, I think it is a good idea.

GillT57 Sun 16-Jan-22 13:18:25

I volunteer for our local FB and we are all invited to purchase t shirts, sweatshirts etc with the FB logo on it. These are not provided free and going by the prices, I would guess that there is an element of profit going to the FB. The wearing of said items is not compulsory. I would guess the charity you are involved with are the same.

Gwyneth Sun 16-Jan-22 13:30:17

I volunteer for a local charity and fleeces etc are available to buy but they are quite expensive so I haven’t bought one. I would definitely ask though nandad. There may be any number of reasons why all the volunteers are wearing them as already noted by posters. However, like you I would want to know that any donations I give are being spent on the needs of the users.

choughdancer Sun 16-Jan-22 13:43:12

I volunteer with a similar local group except that they don't do anything like this! It would definitely make me feel less like supporting them if they did, although I can't see it happening.

Another thing would worry me here, that these items would almost certainly not be ethically produced. I feel so sad when I see, for instance, the pink t-shirts of breast cancer runners and the santa costumes worn by charity runners. Both very good causes, but inadvertently causing harm.

nandad Sun 16-Jan-22 15:51:45

Thank you all for your replies. I will chase them up for a response and hopefully it’s as some have suggested, that volunteers pay for their own clothing. I have a 0 birthday coming up and will request that instead of presents friends make a donation to the charity but I want to be sure that the donation is being put to the intended use.

Germanshepherdsmum Sun 16-Jan-22 16:07:00

Don’t tell the charity that when chasing them or you might wonder if you have been given a conveniently comforting answer.

M0nica Sun 16-Jan-22 17:16:19

Surely people working behind a counter serving food need aprons.

the other thing that occurs to me is that there may be HSE requirements here, with the handling of food etc. If someone got food on a garment and it had to be dry cleaned or the stain wouldn't come off, this could mean the charity would have to pay compensation.

Often the staff of homeless charities go out at night seeking out and talking to homeless people and having clothing with a logo will mean that if they approach people they know who they are and also that the volunteers are suitably dressed for the work they are meant to be doing.

I volunteered with a charity that looked after some heritage buildings. We were given T shirts, fleeces, a cagoule and hat with the charity logo. I was responsible for emptying cash fro m donations boxes and it meant any one seeing me doing it knew I was charity staff, not a thief. I would also sometimes be doing checks of various kinds that meant I was walking about in areas where visitors were not meant to go.

All the sites were in rural areas and ruined buildings so the fleece, cagoule and hat meant that I was well wrapped and protected from the elements when doing the work, which would be an HSE requirement.

I suspect all these clothes are required for HSE requirements or to identify staff to their clientele.

M0nica Sun 16-Jan-22 17:24:08

Not so much a good use of funds as an appropriate use of funds.