Suspicion of faith-based charities, although “generally unfounded”, could stop them playing a bigger part in delivery of public services, according to an 18-month study by the New Philanthropy Capital (NPC) thinktank.
As many as one in four registered charities is said to be faith-based, which NPC defines as “a charity that embodies some form of religious belief – or cultural values arising from a religious belief – in its vision or mission, founding history or project content”. Together, faith-based charities raise more than £16bn a year.
The NPC report, What a Difference a Faith Makes, says having a grounding in faith can:
• help charities stay motivated and stick with causes others may see as hopeless
• make them more resilient to changes in the policy and funding environment
• enable them to engage people seen as vulnerable or too hard to reach
• allow them to deliver services that are culturally appropriate and to consider people’s spiritual needs.
The contribution of faith-based charities is undervalued even within the voluntary sector itself, the report finds, with their profile and the trust placed in them often undermined by concern about their motives.
From: Guardian Voluntary Sector Network