Excerpt from 'THE CLOCK OF TIME' by Gertrude Ruston. (pp 197-198)
"FUNDING SOCIAL WELFARE
A number of our smaller members bodies drew attention to the fact that they find it difficult to obtain sufficient funds to carry on their work, while some of the larger organisations receive more than their fair share of available money and definitely appear to be empire building.
Attention was drawn to this matter some years ago and it was therefore suggested by the Council of Social Service that we should investigate the possibility of setting up a COMMUNITY CHEST to ensure distribution of available money proportionately between all social welfare concerns.
I obtained all necessary details regarding the establishment of a Community Chest and we called a public meeting to discuss the matter. Unfortunately the larger organisations such as Red Cross, Salvation Army, Spastic Welfare, Quadriplegics and Slow Learners violently opposed the proposition and the situation remains the same today.
The Council of Social Service has drawn attention to this matter once more and it is hoped that a solution may be found.
Not only are some of the larger organisations permitted to have regular *door knocks (which are, in my opinion, an invasion of privacy and perhaps even a form of blackmail), but we are now pestered with **telephone appeals requesting us to buy books of tickets, pens, or other articles on behalf of charities, which appear to benefit very little from this effort. An exposure over one of the T.V. channels a short time ago claimed that the only people likely to benefit to any extent from one appeal were the public relations people who had organised it. The firm concerned had declined an invitation to appear on the T.V. programme.
Telethon and Appealathon raise large sums of money but one wonders if there is an audited balance sheet available to the public who donate, and what care is taken to see that children and others collecting for these appeals are over the stipulated age of 16 and using official collection tins? (I believe Appealathon has been taken over by Variety WA).
A woman came into my office on one occasion and asked if she could go round the office to collect. She had an open jam jar and culd produce no authority. When she thought I intended to make telephone enquiries about her eligibility to collect she left very hurriedly.
Street appeals are no longer a reliable source of income. Elderly women used to give their services regularly to collect for various charities, but few are now available. Times have changed - many are now babysitting for relatives or have taken on part-time jobs from necessity. Blind dogs and cripples always draw sympathy and organisations which can call upon a large number of members or school children continue to do reasonably well, but for many of the smaller bodies the reward is hardly worth the effort. What steps are taken to ensure that the small boys collecting are not under 16? Have the police the right to control this?"
*I'd best not let Phil read this part as for several years he collected in our street on behalf of the Heart Foundation. It was probably a 50% success rate. He has since given it up, feeling he is too old to go door to door, not knowing for sure who he is likely to encounter. Some people can be quite rude. Now he just gives the Heart Foundation $5/month and feels he is still doing his bit.
**This appears to happen with monotonous regularity these days. For several years we took part in some of these appeals but these days I explain we are in our 80s, old age pensioners and apologise for not being able to help. In our working days we were always buying raffle tickets and making annual donations to various charities. We feel we've done all that is needed of us.