The Social Ideas Podcast: Should charities charge fees for services?

The Social Ideas Podcast: Should charities charge fees for services?

The Social Ideas Podcast

The Social Ideas podcast shares the impact of social innovation, its necessity and its capacity to challenge the status quo. Throughout this series, highly committed change makers in business, civil society, policy and academia will talk about their work, their ideas and their motivation to strive towards to a more equitable and sustainable world.

‘The day the world changed’ was Thursday 9 August 2007, according to the then chief executive of Northern Rock, Adam Applegarth. BNP Paribas, one of the world’s major banks, was the first “to acknowledge the risk of exposure to sub-prime mortgage markets.”[1] Financial stability was shattered and what followed was a crisis that impacted every area of the globe.

Following the crisis, the charity sector experienced a significant fall in income but one area that bucked the trend was the ‘fees for services.’ Flora Raffai is the CEO of Cam Sight, a Cambridgeshire-based charity that provides support and services to people; and, she is a graduate of the Cambridge Centre for Social Innovation’s MSt in Social Innovation. For her research dissertation, Flora decided to investigate the anecdotal evidence she had read about some charities charging fees for their services.

After the financial crash of 2007/08 it was found that charities’ income increased by 45 percent in real terms during the same time period, from £3.7 billion in 2007 (NCVO, 2015) to £6.7 billion in 2015 (NCVO, 2018). Surprisingly, despite the growing phenomenon of charities charging, there has been little research into what the implications are for the charities, and how beneficiaries feel about paying for services.

Read Flora’s research summary –
https://www.jbs.cam.ac.uk/faculty-research/centres/social-innovation/research/research-summaries/fee-or-free/

The Social Ideas Podcast: Episode Two

In this episode of The Social Ideas Podcast, Flora discusses the answer to her question … Fee or free:  Should charities charge beneficiaries fees for services?


[1] https://www.theguardian.com/business/2012/aug/07/credit-crunch-boom-bust-timeline

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