We report some progress
The AMRC has been in touch and individual replies from charities also confirm that this communication is attracting serious interest even if the majority are ignoring us!
The AMRC has offered to work with 'Charity Watch' and to support our requests for information. This is good news and indeed we will take up their offer and collaborate with them whenever appropriate. However, this gesture, however welcome, does not preclude the response that we need from individual charities. Surely the AMRC cannot speak for the ‘sector’ all the time. We have agreed to send some key questions to the AMRC and when we are ready to send them, they will also be published here.
Are medical research organisations ‘learning organisations’? A learning charity would be interested in “engaging people in two-way communication rather than preaching from on high”. Staying with this award scheme, we think donors, sponsors and fund-raisers deserve the same treatment as customers, even more so because donors give money with no expectation of reward other than benefits for the common good.
Would it therefore be too far fetched to expect leading medical research charities to offer systematic feedback throughout the year to donors. This should include key messages. I donated money to cancer charities for many years and the only time that I heard from them was when I cancelled my standing order. Do charities benefit from 'donor fragmentation' - where you have millions of small scale donors, is it easy to ignore them all?
A number of charities have started to communicate this information through their websites but it is not clear whether the sites are aimed at lay readers, donors, clients, people with medical conditions supported by the charity or no one in particular.
Charities need to go one step further. They have to address the issues that affect their donors and clients. They have to demonstrate the efficiency of their services. They have to show how they measure their efficiencies.
 As defined by ‘Management Today’ in their Service Excellence Awards for 2006.