It’s Still Take, Take, Take, From Many Charities!

In the last few weeks I have found myself facing several charities with strange ideas of what collaboration means. They seem to believe it means they tell me about campaigns and I share them through my social media channels! Many of those have vast marketing teams paid very well to do that. From most, I receive little or no sharing at all and only hear from them when they want something. It is quite sad that nothing seems to have changed since I wrote the below post eighteen months ago!! 

“We are so far only one month in to 2017, and I can say that in terms of my cancer work it has been an incredible start. I have frequently talked and written about the frustrating lack of collaboration in the cancer sector, and unfortunately that is still the case now. Large brands only interested in their own marketing and income streams, and the N.H.S going from one crisis to another. Many years have passed since I started my own cancer journey, and my business skills have shown me a very different way to help people affected by cancer. Not just the patient but also family members etc. We (simPal) wanted to provide help directly to people, with all money raised being passed back to help others. Most importantly for us we wanted no red tape to hinder progress as people with cancer need help now!!

With Blair, my partner in this venture, we believed that much could be improved, and we wanted to be very different to other organisations. We do very little advertising and are happy for the word of mouth to speak about what we do. We love collaboration, and have found many wonderful people who also feel the same, so we are delighted to share our work for the benefit of patients. There seems to be now another support hierarchy appearing. Those of us that are smaller and specialising, are now looking to work together to get the word out there. Breaking the stranglehold of many inward facing charities, who have a financial monopoly and a fear of sharing!

We are able to innovate, and with the aid of the Internet we can reach patients directly and no longer rely on attempting to get our work shared, by those who seem to feel we are ‘competing’ with them. As an organisation we are being approached daily, by others that want to help us and be helped by spreading news about what they do. Social media has unlocked the secure ‘gates’ the large health organisations relied on to keep their supporters to themselves and starve them of resource supplied by others. Despite the fact that we offer a service that no other organisation in the world does, we are ignored by most of the large cancer charity cartel.

As each week goes past our service gets busier and busier, and we are even asked to go into schools to talk about what we do. We are helping families and many people with terminal illness. Just making a simple difference to people who have nowhere else to turn. Through ‘cancer poverty’ these people have no money to pay their bills and are being evicted from their homes. Thankfully the commercial world is very much aware of what we are doing and I am meeting weekly with large organisations who want to help, and are very aware of their #CSR Corporate Social Responsibility.
But my question still remains, why don’t the large cancer charities do more to collaborate with other organisations? Of course many give grants, (crumbs from their table) but don’t really interest themselves in sustainability and business plans. It seems these days if we give money to something, that should be the end of the story? All they have to do is make people aware of the services that exist, and help their supporters further. No cost to them at all!! There are so many cancer support resources in this country that cannot be heard above the publicity din made by multi million pound campaigns.

My own view is quite unique, as being a long term patient and service provider I get to see all perspectives, and my frustration is that with a bit more working together ,life for patients requiring cancer support could be a whole lot better. All services like mine are commercially supported and require little money to keep them going, relying mainly on the incredible goodwill of professionals and volunteers, receiving donations as we go. All we need really is the publicity to let people know we are there. Ironically many services struggle to survive because people don’t realise they exist!

I am delighted at the speed of take up for our service from hospitals and we are now connecting people across all parts of the UK. This has happened mostly by word of mouth from many of our good friends, but very little from the charity world in general. In my opinion these corporations are slowing the speed of innovation, as they are getting caught up in brand politics and egos. With social media being invented for easy sharing what stops these guys from pressing the share button for any of our work?

Unfortunately the sharing culture seems to exist very rarely in the cancer world, despite the very obvious need for it. When I listen to issues on the news regarding cancer all I hear about is money. It is so much more than that, there is a political and selfish core to it, that no amount of money will solve. Of course it is all a very personal choice how we donate our money, but I am seeing a gradual change from the public, who are now considering their options more.
Of course charities do a lot of fine work, but many need to go back to their roots to find out what their customers need today. Communication is a two way street, it is not only about broadcasting ‘fundraising asks.’ Lets look more at the larger cancer picture, TOGETHER?”

As always these are my views, please feel free to share yours below.


  1. I can feel your anger Chris I feel just the same, afraid it seems to get worse instead of better. My wish is that I give to two Charities only they are the two I myself have chosen. Other Charities get when I want to give to now and again I have been looked down on a few times so…… I don’t do that again, so they miss out. Keep up your good work Chris bless you for how you helped me when I was on a low, my hope your family are well. Georgine xxxx

    • Hi Georgine, it’s so lovely to hear from you! Most charities bombard you with leaflets phone calls and tv ads. Even asking if you want help with your will!!! Of course they all need money, but they consider success to be how much they raise. Not what impact they have with that money. Most charities spend more on marketing than helping people. 🙁 Big love as always to you all, family doing well thank you

      • Thank you Chris I have since 1974 done a lot of charity work I was at one time for 2years in charge of one in the small town in Wales I used to give 5 mornings a week never paid one penny I would not have done if it was paid. I have been with this team for many years I have found out now, that it is a paid job….. I will not put on here who it is but have now found out that most in charge are paid. Well I think I have done my bit will be 80 in February so can hold my head up high. I have learnt a lot from people. Glad your family are well.

        • That’s shocking Georgine! People asked me to speak at many meetings where all the audience were paid by NHS/Charities I was offered nothing as a guest 🙁 No more now, if people want me to share my expertise then there has to be a payback. So many organisations take advantage of many patients. But also fair to say that people also enjoy volunteering for their cause. Keep out of the politics Georgine and continue to enjoy your life XXX

    • I have seen a lot of your work for those guys Ronny. Personally I would not give either, one minute of my personal time! They want to suck you dry of your experience and expertise. No consideration you are a patient either.

  2. Collaboration is the buzz word,I too have a charity Chris and unfortunately don’t see any collaboration either which is a huge problem for us !

    • That’s pretty much the story around the country Caroline. I am not really convinced that the Great British public truly understand how their charity £ is being used to prop up more advertising to produce more revenue! Shocking and I have seen this getting worse over time. I am @christheeagle1 on Twitter also.

  3. This important article may be over a year old but it is as relevant as ever. The pink charities still have agendas divorced from the reality of the situation and the real needs of bc patients. #bcsm

    • Thanks so much for sharing Rod! It breaks my heart to watch so much money wasted by these giant charities. They are no longer engaged with their audience and spend fortunes of our money, on advertising to tell us how good they are. #Brands #Corporate #Egos

      • Yes, and with administration rates running at around 50% or greater, and with awareness-raising their main goal, it breaks my heart to see the pink charities squander millions while offering patients so very little. #bcsm

        • Unfortunately that issue is across all cancers I’m afraid, but I have to agree that the pink ones are shockers. So much could improve the #cancersector without more cash. Needs much more #innovation. I believe our #TRUST is being abused.

  4. Well said Chris but so very sad that they don’t judge their success on the actual impact they make on people’s lives.

    • It’s very sad Ken. When we make a donation, we trust that organisation to make the most of it. I don’t believe that is happening now as many have turned into self serving, spending more on themselves than helping the people they should be.

    • Unfortunately it is all too common now! It seems most organisations have found a great income from the cancer world, but they have all forgotten why they actually exist! #Cancer is a great money maker for many!

  5. Children with Cancer U.K. have just ripped off the whole concept that End of Treatment Bells introduced to the U.K. Their logo is now a child ringing a bell, all if their recent TV and social media ads have been if children ringing bells and they even have a text campaign to donate via TEXT BELL to xxxxx. End of Treatment Bells are running a campaign in September (childhood cancer awareness) to showcase small cancer charities each day .. please contact them if you haven’t done so already ..

    • I remember when End of Treatment Bells started and I thought it was a fantastic idea! Quite shocked to hear this story, although I know many who have had their ideas hijacked by the big beasts! Since my introduction to the charity world when I got sick, approx 10 years ago now I see more and more shocking behaviour, by the orgs there to look after us:) Money spent to convince the public what wonderful work they are doing. Can you please let me know some more specific details about this bell situation? Thanks for getting in touch!

  6. Hi Chris .. have a look at the Children with Cancer U.K. website or on FB .. it’s been toned down as previously there was no mention of us at all and I had the mail online change an article that clearly stated how CWC had distributed the bells across the U.K.

    • Thank you Phil I will do that, and am quite happy to ask the awkward questions once I have the facts. Unfortunately this sort of behaviour has become common in the sector. My question is what do the people who are paid to innovate for these guys really do?

  7. allow others to innovate for them whilst taking the dollar .. at least I can say we have never taken a penny out of EOTB

  8. Chris, As usual you hit the nail on the head. Recently I have phoned major cancer and breast cancer charities, asking what campaigns they were running to equalise the Post Code lottery – and if they weren’t doing anything could I organise one. I have moved from one area of England to another, and am appalled at poor quality of service offered to cancer patients in new area. Not one charity was interested – all agree that the post code lottery was rife, but “we don’t have any plans to campaign” and obviously weren’t interested in helping mount one!

    • Hi Verite, I can’t say I am surprised at all, but am sorry to hear your experience. There are times when it feels like cancer patients are getting in the way of how these charities are run. Raising awareness is important of course, but what is more important is some form of practical issues to improve the current situation. Who is actually doing that.

      I find these guys very quick to talk to the media on our behalf, for another fundraising opportunity, but appear to go backwards when asked to talk to people affected by cancer.

      As always I wish you the best of luck with your challenges. X

  9. Hi Chris, I’ve worked for charities for much of my working life and I totally get what you mean. Xx

    • Hi Karen, of course I don’t mean every charity, as I work with some great ones. However the rule tends to be the bigger they are, the worse things become. Thank you for sharing your own experiences and hope all well in your world X

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