Charity Sucks

Reviewed By  Janet Mawdesley       June 6, 2017


Author  Iqbal Wahhab

Distributor:      New South Books
ISBN:                 9781785901430
Publisher:         Biteback Publishing
Release Date:   January 2017  


It’s a pretty big call stating so very emphatically that Charity Sucks, but once you have read to the final page of this polemic you may discover that Wahhab has a very valid point, if not several valid points and that, yes, there is indeed a better way of ensuring that the monies raised in the name of charity can be better and more effectively used.

Wahhab speaks from a background that has seen him contribute in many ways to charity; as a restaurateur, as a wealthy, influential member of society and as a mentor to the many whom he has helped empower; encouraging them to create a new way of life that is both sustainable and profitable.

There is nothing as cold as charity is an old terminology referring to the fact that charity was something given to the poor and disadvantaged by organisations rather than people and therefor tended to lack ‘the milk of human kindness’ and warmth.

This is something that could be hotly debated but the reality is that charity has, for many years done a considerable amount of good, often though on a short term basis, whereas the model offered by Wahhab and the business community offers something considerably more substantial; something more than a short term feel good fix: that of empowerment.

With funding raised from charitable donations, a business model is used to empower people and communities, encouraging them to build something substantial, to thrive and prosper in today’s world, all by looking at a needs based situation, establishing the best pathway for long term results and then working with the people, the village, the community to build their future.

As Wahhab states, ‘people don’t need to be saved; they need to find their own routes to dignity and agency without us standing in their way.’, is more than a statement, it is a call to revisit where much of the money raised for charitable purposes goes and how it is used. What is the end result and what are the long term benefits to the communities in need.

He has used solid facts to back up his argument that charity tends to create a ‘welfare state’ mentality that today’s world can ill afford and the reason why so many charities fall short of the mark with funds usage makes very interesting reading.

The age of philanthropy is seriously on the wane, people have other ends in sight for their wealth, therefor intuitions which have traditionally relied on donations or fundraising to fulfil their needs must begin to move into the modern era of social entrepreneurs, different business models to the traditional and adopt a long term approach to wealth creation which will see a far more effective and a far better return for expenditure.

Charity does indeed suck but does it need to? That is the very, very real question!