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BBC's Children in Need slammed as 'lazy way' to give to charity


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TV viewers were warned yesterday against giving money to the BBC's Children in Need appeal.


An independent watchdog said that donating to the charity is 'a bad idea' because of its huge administration costs - £2.4million last year, out of a total of £33million raised.



Intelligent Giving said some of the money donated will be swallowed up by bureaucracy.



This year's appeal, is expected to attract more than 11 million viewers. BBC stars and the trademark Pudsey bear will host the marathon show.



The popularity of the charity, however, is not matched by its efficiency, the watchdog claimed.



Its report said: 'Loathe as we are to knock the stuffing out of a one-eyed teddy, the fact is that supporting Children in Need is a lazy and inefficient way of giving.'



It added: 'Giving your cash to a grant-giving charity like Children in Need is, 90 per cent of the time, a bad idea.'



The main reason was that donations pay for two sets of bureaucrats: those who run the BBC charity and those in charge of the smaller organisations to which it gives money.


The watchdog ridiculed the Children in Need claim that 'every penny you give goes towards helping children and young people in the UK'.



It said: 'That is just clever wording. Children in Need does the same as all the other big clever charities: it invests your pennies (for six months or longer sometimes - do you want that?) and uses the interest to cover costs.'



The most recent submission to the Charity Commission from Children in Need says that last year it spent £1,837,000 on 'management and administration'.



A further £555,000 was spent on costs of generating funds - 7 per cent of the £33million raised. However, in 2004, Children in Need spent just under £42,000 on 'investment management fees'.



Intelligent Giving - set up by magazine publisher Peter Heywood to advise donors on the most-efficient charities - also said that Children in Need was the wrong charity for anyone who wants their donation spent in their neighbourhood.



Those who give money must expect it to be spread around the country, it said.



It called the returns sent to the Charity Commission by Children in Need incomplete and 'plain false'.



Children in Need said the criticism was 'inaccurate' but did not issue a detailed rebuttal.



Instead it said: 'In 2005 our appeal raised £33million from public donations and we have since awarded £33million to projects across the UK.



'We are very open about how this is achieved. The donated funds generate interest in the bank which means that all our administration costs are able to be met by investment income and not donations.'



The charity added: 'We are very lucky that we have a large audience who have the commitment and passion to raise millions of pounds, and in return they trust us to deliver the money to the greatest areas of need.



'The high profile of BBC Children in Need enables us to give grants to smaller organisations that might not otherwise be able to raise significant funds for themselves.'



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