Donations suffered over charity scandals - Irish Cancer Society

Conversation over issue not a bad thing, says fundraising chief ahead of 30th Daffodil Day

The Irish Cancer Society has said donations to it suffered in the wake of charity sector scandals - but they have bounced back due a combination of openness and accountability as well as enduring public support.

Speaking at the launch of its 30th Daffodil Day, taking place on March 24th, the society's head of fundraising Mark Mellet said the charity had been affected by the scandals in the same way as other such organisations.

“But it also started a conversation, and I don’t think that’s a bad thing,” he suggested.

“People want to be reassured and want to be sure that a charity like ours has good governance. We are independently audited, our accounts are in the public domain and our board is entirely voluntary.


Asking questions

“People are asking questions more - and that’s a good thing. We’re spending people’s money, and they have a right to know what we are spending it on.”

Mr Mellet described Daffodil Day as “hugely important” for the society, which hopes to raise about €3 million this year. “But it’s not just about the money,” he said. “It also helps raise awareness of what we do.”

He said that as well as raising funds, the society wanted to reinforce the importance of people being proactive about their health.

“We want to remind people that four in 10 cancers can be prevented by lifestyle changes. And we want to tell them that a lot of people survive cancer now. In fact, more people survive after a diagnosis than die.

“That is why early diagnosis is so important. We are here to remind people that there is no need to be afraid to get yourself checked out - and it can save your life. Take bowel cancer for example. If it is detected in stage one, nine out of 10 people will survive. If it gets to stage four undetected, that number is reversed and one in 10 survive.”

Mr Daff

Among those at the launch in Croke Park was James Gillerin, known as Mr Daff because he always comes to big events dressed head-to-toe in a suit and hat made of daffodils.

“It is just a boiler suit with hundreds of small daffodils pinned onto it, but people love it,” he said.

“I’ve been doing it for 25 years and I love going down to O’Connell Street on Daffodil Day.

“Like everybody else, I know people who have had cancer. Both my parents had cancer, my sister-in-law had cancer and I have friends who have been diagnosed with cancer.

‘Dress like an eejit’

“If I can dress up like an eejit and raise some money, then it a very small thing. I would love to be able to do more.”

The society is asking for public support through coffee mornings at home or in schools or registering as a volunteer to help to sell daffodils on the day.

Conor Pope

Conor Pope

Conor Pope is Consumer Affairs Correspondent, Pricewatch Editor