Someone shared this TEDx Talks video with me the other day, it was a talk from Thomas Muirhead, Managing Director of

First, have a watch, it’s only 16mins:

Thomas Muirhead, in this talk, spoke about how we need to move beyond giving, and move towards spending.

He spoke eloquently on the “overhead myth” something which the UK media is beating the charity sector on nearly every week and charities just aren’t being bold enough to defend their model.

Every other month I run a Corporate Fundraising Network, where I sit with some of the most brilliant fundraisers in the UK third sector at the moment. We often discuss how frustrated we are with the lack of knowledge on how the charity sector works. In fact, I have had to defend my salary to family members’ before, who have been horrified that their donations go towards paying people like me.

Muirhead in his TEDx Talk explains it better than I ever can. He talks about how there is a ‘fundamental misperception of the third sector’ and how the perception is wrong and at worst ‘disingenuous’.

Admin costs have become a bit of a buzz word in the charity sector lately. Charities are often having to defend their admin costs, despite the fact that most of the charities with the highest admin costs are having the biggest impact.

I think that the media and therefore the public have become so obsessed with admin costs they have forgotten what charities are there to do. Muirhead quite rightly draws attention to the fact that instead we should be looking at the impacts we are making. He draws the easy comparison between the private sector (using Apple) and the third sector and the double standard that permeates.

I think next time I’m faced with someone who insists the third sector should be solely run by volunteers I will send them this TEDx Talk as I really do feel that it’s an important message to get out there.

I also hope organisations like the Institute of Fundraising, step up and speak the message more clearly. We need to defend ourselves more, admit when we’re wrong and be more of an open book. We’re the sector changing people’s lives everyday yet to general public they just don’t know how we work and operate.

A dialogue needs to take place.

You can watch the video here and find out more here about (in fact at the moment they’re looking for a new Fundraising Product Officer)



One thought on “Beyond Giving | Thomas Muirhead

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s