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The Help for Heroes juggernaut - Good, Bad or Neutral

#1
Anyone fancy a sensible discussion on the impact that Help for Heroes has had on the service charity scene


How has Help 4 Heroes impacted the other charities?

Have they increased the total service charity take or just diverted it from other charities?

Is their undoubtedly successfull awareness campaign likely to lead to service charity fatigue or a backlash against the over sentimentality of it all?

Is the cause in danger of being hijacked by well meaning showbiz types?

What is the position regards to Help 4 Heroes giving donations to other charities, can it do it, does it do it, who decides who gets what?

Or is it a success story and everyone benefits?


Would be interested in hearing your views
 
P

PrinceAlbert

Guest
#2
Surely no-one can have an informed view without seeing figures from other charities??
 

elovabloke

ADC
Moderator
#3
During these times it would not surprise me if some of the other services charities finances go down. H4H have redistributed some of the money to projects being run by others and have instigated projects that means other charities can hang back.

It is a bit of a catch 22 though and not wanting to deflect this into a political debate my MP (not a Tory) said to me one day at an event I organised, "the work required at Headley Court should have been a Government responsibility and not have had to rely on others to get it done".
 
#4
On the face of it without figures and going through the books, I don't hear of any of the other charities complaining so looks like they are happy so can only assume that the total take has gone up.

I think H4H is much more accessible to the general public unlike Combat Stress for instance.

the donors to Combat Stress lets say will probably stay with them, knowing the charity etc, newcomers to the service charity giving scene will probably plump for H4H, Hopefully a win win situation.

Zippy483
 
#5
We had exactly that debate in my unit late last year. We ended up backing H4H in that it was very much in vogue and likely to attract contributions from individuals and areas that were not generally disposed to backing service charities. The end result has been a massive increase in contributions not just for H4H but also the the other charities that remain well supported (RBL takings for poppies last year was up by about 20%)

Anything that increases the profile of, and support to, service folk is a bonus; our experience is that H4H is a good thing all round.
 

udipur

LE
Book Reviewer
#6
Others are not so well known but the attention that H4H has brought to supporting the services has been felt in other charities.

I just hope that it doesn't get like the Legion with unbelievably smart offices at the end of Pall Mall, the rent of which, charity rates or no, could be better used.
 
#7
What the H4H Team have done is highlight what the media have failed to do, they have shown the British public that our Military is fighting battles on a daily basis not just peace keeping, there has never been charity events carried out on the scale that H4H has attracted. As was mentioned in an earlier post above, the Government should be doing a darn sight better job at looking after our wounded and their dependents, H4H are doing that and are doing a brilliant job. It would be a great idea for them to actually make massive donations to the RBL, BLESMA and others as they will be directly helping military causes in doing so, after all this isn't a competition between the various charities.

They have helped to show a nation just what it's servicemen and women are going through daily, something the majority of the media as well as the Government seemed to have either forgotten about, turned a blind eye to or were just not prepared to enter the current frontlines to witness for themselves... hats off to Mr. Kemp also for shocking a nation back into caring for it's young men and women volunteers on the frontlines...
 
#8
Landlords will tell you that new pubs generally attract more punters into an area so all pubs in the area see a benefit. The high profile of H4H may well stimulate the public to give to other service charities (indeed some may well give to RBL thinking they are giving to H4H and vice versa I suppose).
It is a national disgrace that H4H has to exist but it needs to be pointed out that it exists because the Government were doing so little not because H4H wanted to do more, it was born out of necessity not extension.
I believe that H4H do share with other service charities but I'm not certain.
The public attention span is generally woefully short. Withdraw from Afghanistan and Iraq tomorrow the long-term needs will not go away but you are likely to see far less money flowing in from a public who think that physical and psychiatric injuries disappear with the cessation of hostilities. Unfortunately we have to make hay whilst the sun shines and that is why my company vans carry the H4H logo and contact details.
It wont be long before it is back to the serving, veterans, and their families who are donating.
 
#9
It's good to be good but I think the RBL and SSAFA are kicking themselves for missing a good fund raising opportunity.
We sent our SSAFA collecting tin to approx 13 units in the Aldershot area and they came back with an average of £8 per unit!! I reckon the H4H tins were a damn sight fuller than that. The thing is I believe that most serving bods don't really know about SSAFA, I for one wasn't really aware of them when serving.
 
#10
jack-daniels said:
It's good to be good but I think the RBL and SSAFA are kicking themselves for missing a good fund raising opportunity.
We sent our SSAFA collecting tin to approx 13 units in the Aldershot area and they came back with an average of £8 per unit!! I reckon the H4H tins were a damn sight fuller than that. The thing is I believe that most serving bods don't really know about SSAFA, I for one wasn't really aware of them when serving.
Many of the families will know of the SSAFA who send health visitors round pads estates, especially in BAOR, they weren't always that popular, rather unfairly I always thought. Good point though Jack certainly I was recently chatting to a one-legged ex Lancashire Fusilier who didn't know about Blesma. I guess being RAMC we had much more contact with many of the charities.
Big up to you helping SSAFA.
 
#11
I don't know whether they do it already, but I think that a good idea would be for EVERY Forces charity to have a high profile Web Links page on every web site with every Forces Charity listed on it.

In comparison to those Charities mentioned, the small forces charitable organisation that helped me were absolutely fantastic. The information, guidance and assistance that I received from this relatively unknown organisation was priceless.

I think that it would be a bad day when charities are seen as 'Trendy'.
 
#12
Does anyone think there is mileage in the service charities merging to achieve economies of scale or is there too much 'pride' at stake

Surely a single forces charity, as long as they maintained the specialist knowledge of the smaller ones, would achieve much more than the sum of its parts. Much the same as the Uk cancer charities
 
T

Tremaine

Guest
#13
The more help for our heroes, the better. Looks like big business at H4H. Do H4H help ex-service people or are they just for serving personnel? Apparently the main ex-service charities have bags of cash but don't operate or advertise in quite the same way.
 
#14
meridian said:
Does anyone think there is mileage in the service charities merging to achieve economies of scale or is there too much 'pride' at stake

Surely a single forces charity, as long as they maintained the specialist knowledge of the smaller ones, would achieve much more than the sum of its parts. Much the same as the Uk cancer charities
A good idea, but I think that as every organisation operates in very different ways, then 'Bun Fights' over allocation of funds would possibly just remove the ability for the chariites to meet their aims and objectives.

I don't think that Pride would be an issue.
 
#15
I wonder how the same prioritisation issues were resolved by the cancer charities, treatment/welfare/research etc. Different issues but fundamentally the same issue. I honestly think there needs to be some big thinking in the service charity sector to take advantage of the bow wave created by H4H, other charities and the general increase in interest. There will never be a better time
 
#16
If all the charities merged then the big problem would be that one board (and possibly one person on that board) might be setting direction, to the possible detriment of other service causes.
People give to specific charities for specific reasons, merge the charities and you run the risk of losing their patronage.
I personally feel that many small charities, feeding a specific niche, targets expertise and effectiveness exactly where it's needed. People using the charity's services know where to go and know roughly what they'll get. Merge the charities and then the customers (the actual recipients of the charity) are faced with a big organisation with a huge bureaucracy and they may feel overawed and that they're being passed from pillar to post.
 
#17
Meridian,

A good thread and a sensible debate. A tricky one though...

While I totally admire what H4H have done - and others have already pointed out the good stuff that they do, I am ever-so-slightly cynical of what they have done (in the best possible way - don't get me wrong) - in that they are 'young' and new and clearly have a lot of talented people working for them and they have done great things. That they have embarrased the government (and indeed the MoD, IMHO) by showing them what they don't do is most commendable. Is there a H4H in the USA? Not that I am aware of - they have a fully swept up Veterans Administation; to be a Veteran there is a badge of honour...

I think that there are may charities that have lost out a bit to H4H - something that they should be aware of - but let us not be too critical.

Personally, I think that the Economies of Scale argument isn't a good one - the various 'niches' that exist are important - what I think we ARRSERs can do is give them some much needed publicity and perhaps highlight what else is out there. The RBL and SSAFA do sterling work in their own way - and Veterans Aid do great things. What I think is a shame is that the MOD don't get more involved and coordinate the whole piece better. They should have more idea of who could benefit most from what; know how to talk to the Regimental nets various and the like - that way, who gets what from whom and when could be controlled more efficiently, perhaps.

Thougts?

Adjt
 
#18
Good points by many.

Agree re comments from JD and MarkInTime re SSAFA and BLESMA awareness - many are simply not high enough profile, or in the case of BLESMA very specialist in one specific area. It is a difficult balancing act, as much as I would like to see BLESMA running prime time TV campaigns, an increasing marketing budget obviously takes away funds from where the charities can be most effective in their efforts.

Re Meridian's comment about charities merging - I think that this is where the concept of "cross charity" exposure has been so powerful for Help for Heroes. Possibly the first example of Armed Forces charities working to some common messages, bought together by Bryn and Emma Parry.

Fundamentally the problem in this, is that by definition, charities have to be run as businesses today more than ever before. Those that head up the charities will do the very best that they can with the funds available to them, but a merged pot of cash would be difficult to allocate between the charities. Ultimately, there is no guarantee that more money would be raised, but the allocation of funds to the charities would be open to widespread critique.

The "advantage" of the current "every charity is different" position is that it does allow those who give, to make donations as they feel appropriate - if you like what Combat Stress does, give Combat Stress your donation, if you like what the RBL does, give donations to RBL, etc.

To answer an earlier point regarding Help for Heroes, funds are passed to other charities from Help for Heroes - link here

£8,000,000 to the Swimming Pool Complex at Headley Court
£3.5million to Combat Stress
£500,000 to the Relative’s House at Selly Oak hospital
Ok, so those are big headline numbers and additionally (please follow the link and have a read) Bryn's team currently funds many other smaller initiatives, with some projects run directly by Help for Heroes.

So, it's all really postive stuff, huge (mammoth) respect for Bryn, Emma and the team - truly inspiring to see what they have achieved and also good to see leading personalities and organisations putting their efforts behind it.

So, in answer to the Good, Bad or Neutral question...

Good - for all of the reasons submitted to this thread and many others.

Bad - UK Government's disgraceful lack of support / resources / funding of so many who have served their country, that results in charities spending monies on areas that the government should finance directly.

Sorry- have just seen Adjutant's post -- which seems to make many of the same points.
 
#20
Markintime said:
If all the charities merged then the big problem would be that one board (and possibly one person on that board) might be setting direction, to the possible detriment of other service causes.
People give to specific charities for specific reasons, merge the charities and you run the risk of losing their patronage.
I personally feel that many small charities, feeding a specific niche, targets expertise and effectiveness exactly where it's needed. People using the charity's services know where to go and know roughly what they'll get. Merge the charities and then the customers (the actual recipients of the charity) are faced with a big organisation with a huge bureaucracy and they may feel overawed and that they're being passed from pillar to post.
Spot on.

Being involved with the RBL, who share an office with SSAFA, I see a lot of "cross charity" donations going on all of the time but with the recipients then allocating their gift in their own unique way.

As an example, SSAFA, BLESMA and Combat Stress haven't really got a pot to p1ss in when compared to the RBL or H4H, but do receive large sums from both the RBL and H4H to spend in their own way.

H4H also donate to loads of other "little" service based charities as they are very aware that they are the big boys when it comes to collecting monies.
 

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