Catch 22: when big charities trample smaller ones

The third sector, in all its rich variety, needs big organisations and small ones addressing different needs in different ways to improve people's lives. And, as I've often said, I'm not anti-scaling, just anti- the fetishization of scale so that people feel compelled to, rather than choose to / do it when it's appropriate and in line with their personal goals.

But there are times when big charities appear simply not to bother. Rainer and Crime Concern were looking for a new brand when they merged….and they decided on Catch 22. And rewarded their branding agency no doubt handsomely for it. It's already drawn flak for what some feel is a puzzling name to represent their work.

What's angered many in the social enterprise world though (not least at SSE), is that social enterprise ambassador / SSE Fellow / all-round good guy Tokunbo Ajasa-Oluwa's early stage CIC is called Catch 22. I can't speak for the legal ins and outs, as I don't know enough detail (though it's interesting that this article says that the name cannot be trademarked because it is the name of a book, while the charity's new website has "The names Catch22, Rainer and Crime Concern and their respective logos are trademarks" in its terms and conditions).

What I have heard on the grapevine though is that, when Tokunbo brought his organisation to the attention of the CEO of the new Catch 22, they apparently said that they had known about his organisation but steamed ahead as he was small fry in this world. Appropriately the CEO is also a trustee of the Who Cares? Trust….

Good to see that the values of the organisation are so well represented by their action, hey? Particularly as Tokunbo's organisation also focuses on giving disadvantaged young people a break: who knows what sort of interesting partnership or collaborative deal they might have been able to do with a more thoughtful approach.

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