A recent report by the Charities Commission has severely criticised the charity Age Concern for its membership scheme called Heyday.
The scheme was established to attract around 3 million members within 5 years of launch in the age range 50 plus. Some of the members were paid for, some non-paying.
The main aim of Heyday according to the charity was to provide “information and voice”
Heyday has now been abandoned.
In its report, the Commissioners point out that the scheme cost some £22 million to set up and run and it failed dramatically to attract the 3 million members – attracting around 400,000 people.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4 Andrew Hinds the Chief Executive of the Charities Commission encouraged charities to be innovative but suggested trustees should be very careful of launching new projects after very careful look at the facts. He pointed out that Heyday did not meet its objectives.
He identified 3 areas of concern:
1. market research before the project was launched was not as strong as expected
2. analysis of risks was not as rigorous as it should have been
3. there were 34 members on the Age Concern Board – too many for effective decision making
Interestingly, there has been an internal review of the project however the Charity Commissions suggests that Age Concern carry out an independent external review which will be done once it completes a merger with Help the Aged in April of this year.
I believe we can all learn from each other and the report is well worth a read. You can see it here. You can also hear Andrew Hinds from the Charity Commission and the Chief Executive of Age Concern here.