Pretty much every organisation across every sector that is worth its salt will have a publicly stated set of values. The importance of ‘Values’ is so high that it has become standard practice that, in well run organisations, they are stated in the Mission Statement alongside the Vision and the Mission.
You know the kind of thing; we will act with integrity, we are customer focused, we source our products ethically, and so on.
Given the many issues with Cancer Research UK (CRUK) and Race for Life that Race 4 Truth has highlighted over the last year, we thought it would be interesting to seek out CRUK’s Values and compare them to reality.
We thought it would be as simple as visiting their website and looking their Values up. It wasn’t. Instead, after a couple of hours searching their site, we were left having to assume that they don’t have any values to share.
But then, they must do. Their website clearly states of its Council of Trustees; “Council’s role is to set the Charity’s strategic direction, monitor the delivery of the Charity’s objects, uphold its values and governance and guide, advise and support the Chief Executive, who leads the Senior Management Team towards achieving the Charity’s vision and purpose.”
So, we searched again. And, buried on page 39 of CRUK’s Annual Report, we found a list of “promises” to the organisation’s supporters. The first of these states; “To be transparent about where your money goes.” That sounded a lot like a Value to us so we searched the website for more information and finally found CRUK’s ‘Fundraising Promise.’
Here, they expand on the line in their Annual Report by stating that they promise “To be transparent about where your money goes.” They go on to say: “For every £1 donated, over 80p is used to beat cancer.”
Except, it isn’t. Their ‘transparency’ doesn’t stretch to telling their supporters that, according to CRUK’s own annual report, nothing from the following goes to funding research, and nothing from the following list is included when calculating that 80p:
-Income from event entries and tickets (eg Race for Life)
-Income from event merchandising
-Income from commercial sponsorship of events
-Income from high street ‘charity’ shops
Transparent? More like a broken promise.
The ‘Fundraising Promise’ goes on to state; “We are proud to champion the principles of honesty, accountability and transparency when fundraising.” Perhaps they should add; “as long as we don’t have to tell you that by entering the Race for Life you have given not a single penny to research.” Indeed, when advertising entries for the Race for Life they even use the (misleading) tag line ‘this is beating cancer.’
Honesty? They have lied about the origins of the Race for Life for 25 years and, once provided with evidence, refused to put the lies right by telling truth. They even supported a fraudulent claim by then employee Jill MacRae that she had created the event. They now know she didn’t but have failed to right that wrong.
Accountability? To whom exactly. Handily, they don’t say.
Transparency? Well, when directly asked how much of the sponsorship money raised by Race for Life participants funds research they were (again) very careful with their wording (ie not transparent). “100% of it goes to Cancer Research UK.”
Note, to “Cancer Research UK”, not to cancer research. Far from funding research, a chunk of that money funds sky high salaries, expensive offices, glossy TV commercials, and more.
And their CEO Michelle Mitchell cannot claim to be unaware of the importance of clear values. Under her leadership in her previous role as CEO at the Multiple Sclerosis Society, a clear set of values was put in place. But then, Mitchell is already rewriting the book in her new role, especially when it comes to hypocrisy. And what of the CRUK Council of Trustees responsible for “upholding its values?” Are none of them asking questions?
We were searching for Values, a set of standards to which Cancer Research UK hold themselves responsible. In their place we found empty promises already broken.
They have lied about the Race for Life for 25 years, they deliberately mislead their supporters while claiming transparency, they claim accountability without saying to whom. Why should we believe a single word they say? Cancer Research UK, an integrity free zone, would like you to trust them with your hard earned money. Just don’t ask them where it goes.
If it matters to you, why not ask Michelle Mitchell directly. Her Twitter handle is @Michelle_CRUK – we are sure she would love to hear from you and to explain CRUK’s values and (broken) promises.
In the Race 4 Truth, Cancer Research UK are lagging behind.