Welfare is becoming a business – like McDonalds – Are NGOs really saving any money and who’s reaping the benefits?
Successive governments have decided to get out of welfare. They feel NGOs both church and secular can do it better and cheaper. The reason for that is because over the last sixty or so years the welfare state became larger and larger and evermore expensive. Government welfare programs and government departments became an increasing drain on Government resources. Increasing numbers of bureaucrats on the public purse demanded more and more money as these services, over time, became more professional.
Over the past few years “smaller government” has been the catch phrase and so many government welfare programs have been ceded to the churches and other non government organisations.
However one has to ask if, in the long run, this has actually made programs cheaper and better.
This has meant the corporate mentality running banks and large corporates has invaded the NGO sector. Salaries and amoral behaviour included!
However in order to raise money outside of government, large numbers of fundraisers have entered the system. Corporates, to manage donations to NGOs have also instituted charitable arms of their corporations. Usually these have been run by former fundraisers.
What you now have is a class of people talking to and amongst themselves. In other words, a large class of “middle-men” has emerged. It is my experience that fund raisers are generally not afraid to ask for money as it is their job. And consequently they are not afraid to ask for salaries for themselves in line with their equals (ie. Marketing executives) in corporate life lie. This is also now true for NGO CEOs to seek salaries commensurate with their corporate equivalents, too.
Now we find a proliferation of companies whose main job is to receive weekly donations from people’s pay cheques and then distribute monies collected amongst welfare agencies. These people and agencies, for a fee, redistribute the money raised. However what I find is that fee is quite substantial.
Fundraisers and their equivalent, I find are generally middle class people and I find this is the group that has profited most from the government moving out of welfare.
Another rub is that in order to get corporate money, I believe, charities shift their focus to be more in line with what corporates want to give money for whether that welfare is imperative or not. What we are finding is the beginnings of a synergy between “corporatism” and “welfarism”. Simply because a company or individual is good at banking or making profits or running a large organisation does not mean they understand the vulnerability, the humanness and the desperatism of those in need. Increasingly I find, NGOs being afraid to speak out for fear of alienating the business culture that supports them and where their CEO’s and fundraisers essentially come from. I also find a reluctance to speak out against unpleasant government policies as they gradually inherit that corporate fear of alienating anybody who is good for business. What I find out of all of this is a “creeping” middle classism. That is that those at the bottom of the heap are given less and less help as they don’t really fit into the idea a KPI oriented system.
Companies for profit like the idea of working with organisations involved with people who can be lifted from condition A to condition B. The homeless poor bugger on the street or the kid who sprays his pain on walls is ignored whilst the more middle class oriented get welfare support.
So I’m beginning to really wonder whether the Government’s getting out of helping the poor has really helped the very poor or rather left them dangling while they have created this fairly wealthy middle class of middle-men. These people, who feel better about themselves as they believe they are doing something to help the very poor but keep their corporate sized salaries while they do it.
I really wonder if the only people benefiting from the Government getting out of welfare is this middle class.
But doesn’t the middle class and the financially astute usually benefit from everything?