CRITICISING charities for spending donated money on administration is “seriously flawed”, according to an Oxford University researcher.

William MacAskill, Associate Professor of Philosophy at the university, has published a book entitled Doing Good Better, advising people on how to get the most out of charitable giving.

He argues that donors should behave more like scientists and use careful reasoning to decide where to give.

Mr MacAskill said criticising charities for their spending on admin and overheads was “seriously flawed”, adding: “Think about the logic behind this reasoning if you apply it to personal spending.

“Suppose you’re deciding whether to buy a Mac or a PC. You would probably think about the design and usability, and certainly wouldn’t think about how much Apple and Microsoft each spend on administration.”

The book also claims that giving money in response to emergency appeals after natural disasters can be less effective than giving to other anti-poverty charities.

Mr McAskill said: “If the international response was rational we would expect a greater amount of funding to be provided to larger disasters, and disasters that occur in poorer countries which are less able to cope. But funding seems to be allocated in proportion with how evocative and widely publicised the disaster is.”

Elsewhere, the book questions the real-term use of ‘ethical consumerism’, where people pay more for goods produced by workers who are well-treated.

In the past Professor McAskill co-founded two non-profit organisations, Giving What We Can and 80,000 hours, which encourage people to use their time and money as effectively as possible when supporting charities.