Why the General Election matters to your charity


You – and the charity you work for – need to get involved in politics, and do so right now.

For many years now in the UK, the political wind has been blowing to the right, and the ideas and policies that have followed from this (such as massive cuts in social services budgets) have proved disastrous for some of the most vulnerable people in society – including the poor and sick.

These developments represent a threat to the values which most of the charity sector holds dear – not simply progressive liberal trouble makers (which we at ChangeStar are proud to be labelled).

The snap General Election called this week for 8th June 2017 gives us a chance to challenge and reverse some of these threats. The result of the election may seem a foregone conclusion from the state of recent opinion polls, but such polls have proved completely inaccurate in predicting some of the extraordinary political events of recent years.

So, there is hope. And in any case, as members of the charitable sector we have a duty to get involved in politics, as charities are some of the most important and powerful political institutions in the country. They represent people who are disadvantaged, communities in need, environments that are being destroyed, people who are being neglected – and the reason all these needs exist is usually due to some inadequacy of the political system or its policies – from economic inequality through to insufficient environmental legislation.

So, charities ARE political, and they need to take a stand in political matters – both when these affect our own charity’s particular cause and also when they are broader issues of principle, or just getting involved in the movement for a fairer, kinder, more sustainable world.

We also need to remember that failing to take a political stand or adopt a position at this election is a choice in itself. It’s actively choosing to accept the status quo, and giving the green light to further budget cuts, dismantling of the services we hold dear and damage to our beneficiaries as charities. So, doing nothing as an organisation or an individual is an overtly political act in itself – and a highly negative one.

This article is therefore a call to everyone working in the not-for-profit sector to get involved in this election and encourage people – from your charity’s supporters to the general public – to campaign and vote for a better future. To vote for parties that will stop the ideological dismantling of the state in favour of market forces, the stripping away of health, education and other budgets in the name of austerity and the hostility towards anything that seeks to challenge the primacy of the market, such as charities themselves.

And by ‘everyone working in the not-for-profit sector’ we mean absolutely everyone – not just the experts in your policy departments or campaign teams. We all need to start seeing the big picture politically and doing something to improve it, as part of our roles.

We are in a fight for survival – of our values, of our sector and of the beneficiaries we work tirelessly to help – whether it is families living in poverty, people with disabilities, refugees or endangered wildlife around the world.

Now is the time for people in the charity sector to get involved in politics and do everything we can to influence the result of this election in a positive way.

By Richard Docwra, Director, ChangeStar

Contact ChangeStar on: 01273 964018 or info@changestar.co.uk

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