A charity’s view on policy need not be a view on politics – they should enter the EU debate

Should charities speak out in the EU debate?

There is no doubt that Brexit carries with it big risks for the not-for-profit sector. Will post-Brexit Britain reproduce EU regulations, initiatives and partnerships that advance charities’ objectives.

And what of income? Most economists say Brexit is very likely to lead to a downturn in the UK economy. And a weaker economy means less money for government grants; less money for individuals to donate.

In an article on the CIPR’s Influence site, Kate Turner, discusses other risks:

“The risks of speaking out are arguably similar to that faced by any consumer-facing organisation or company whose fortunes depend on the goodwill and support of a considerable number of stakeholders. Alienating supporters who take a different view could have a significant impact on donations, volunteers and receptiveness to other key messages from a charity.”

It seems to me, that what is often overlooked is that entering a debate does not necessarily require taking a side.

Saying that an EU regulation, initiative or partnership has been a benefit to a charity’s work, is informative.

Saying that whatever the outcome of the referendum the charity would want to see a continuation of helpful circumstances is also informative.

Surely, a charity can voice a view on policy – regulations etc – without having to voice a view on politics – the Remain or Leave options?

And, by voicing such a policy view, charity-supporting voters (whether tending to Remain or to Leave) get extra information ahead of making their final decision.

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