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NCVO discussion paper explores implications of EU membership for charities

With just under three months until the referendum, NCVO has published a short discussion paper looking at the implications of EU membership for charities.

Rather than weigh up the pros and cons of EU membership, the paper seeks to provide a template for discussion for trustees and senior managers when considering the implications of the referendum.

Read the paper (PDF, 250KB)

The paper poses a number of questions that trustees will want to work through when considering whether to enter in the debate:

  • Does the EU have a direct impact (positive or negative) on the work of your charity and its beneficiaries?
  • Would the outcome of the referendum have a direct impact on the work of your charity and its beneficiaries?
  • What evidence do you have to demonstrate this?
  • Would engaging in the referendum debate, even in a limited way, help to further your charitable purpose?
  • Is it a reasonable and effective use of charitable resources (time and money)?
  • What are the reputational risks of engaging publicly in this debate? How will you manage these?
  • How will you ensure that your independence or impartiality is not compromised?
  • Do you have plans in place for the post-referendum period? How will the charity position itself if the result is (i) a vote to remain in the EU or (ii) a vote to leave?

The paper also analyses the current debate around EU membership and pulls out a number of themes that will be specifically relevant to charities

Sir Stuart Etherington, chief executive of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations said:

While the outcome of the referendum will be directly relevant to a number of charities and some will be considerably affected, all charities will want to consider the implications for the people and causes they support.

Some will feel the outcome of the referendum has little or no bearing on their activities and mission. Others, not unreasonably, will form the view that the outcome of the referendum could have important consequences on their activities and mission, and that they would therefore be failing their beneficiaries if they did not speak out.

This paper seeks to help frame that discussion and assist organisations to think this through - weighing up the potential benefits and risks of either option.

Read the paper (PDF, 250KB)

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