Wednesday 8 December 2010

Not an easy business

If I am committing to a charity three things are important to me:
  • I DO want to be able to feel good that I am doing something for a charity
  • I DO expect the charity organisation to support me in becoming a substantial fund raiser
  • I DO expect companies providing admin logistics for charities to be reasonable or to be non-profit organisations themselves
That might sound rather demanding, but actually I think it is the only way how it can work during times when there is less cash around and the demand for private engagement is higher than ever.

Yes, I Do want to feel good about the work I am doing. There might be a few really selfless people out there, but I am happy to admit that I am not one of them. When I collect some money, I prefer a pat on the back, rather then being told that it is not enough. I however see quite often that charities do exactly that. They request a quite substantial amount of funds to be raised, to be allowed attendance of even rather small fundraising events. It seems the charity organisers have set themselves a target, but only have a certain capacity they are able to cater for, and then dividing the two and ending up with the amount an individual has to bring in. Sorry, not a scheme that works for me. I am happy to do what I can, not more and not less, and if it is not enough for you... there are loads of other charities, happy to take my money. I believe that a charity that allows people to feel good about their donation will have a bigger crowd of followers and hence make their cut - no need to be demanding.

Yes, I DO want support. There is a difference between collecting a few pennies, spreading the word, or getting somebody hooked. I believe that people who hook other people and who I would like to call multipliers, are very important. If each multiplier only finds two more people who multiply themselves then you have an avalanche on your hands, something every charity should be hoping for. It works brilliantly for occasions in which it is not awkward to give a donation as a present. For example my mum loves Orangutans and for her receiving an adoption as a gift was great. Adoptions, as opposed to simple donations, work so well because she would get updates of the little one and a picture, so she would actually receive something to her to hold in her hands. For £60 a years this is a gift at the expensive end but very doable, I had been hoping that my mum would continue the adoption herself and maybe consider giving a similar gift to one of her friends. This would free up my resources aiming this years adoption to another person. Prices went up! From £60 to £120! My mum is a pensioner, and even if she would be able - and willing - to spend such an amount of money for her own adoption, she surely will not give one to somebody else, and so won't I. The chain is broken, no more multiplying! Additionally I am made feeling stingy, I don't get the support to do really successful work, and hence I am not inspired anymore to think about other ideas to raise funds. Tell me one good reason why I should put in my efforts into this charity when there are others.

This will no longe be!
Yes, I DO expect others to be reasonable. After having collected £215 for Orangutan Land Trust on my Justgiving page I am now going to abandon Justgiving! Thing is that Justgiving is not 'just giving', it is a business worth millions. I trustfully used them because everybody else does. The first time that I came across this simple way of collecting money for charity was for Race for Life. I figured that if a huge organisation like Cancer Research UK is using them, it should be OK, although I thought that 5% of the collected money is quite a salary for them. Well, from my £215 almost £11 go into the pockets of Justgiving - that's a lot of chocolate that I have to feed to my colleagues to then actually be able to put something towards the charity. And now it turns out that Orangutan Land Trust as the receiving end and account holder has to pay £14 every month, whether money comes in or not. Imagine we would be the only ones sending money and given that we raised this amount over a years time, that would mean that only £36 (215-168-11=36) would actually go to charity, and if you add the VAT for the 14 quid then the money is almost gone.

So I am glad that the charity I chose out of gut feeling is none of the above. Michelle from Orangutan Land Trust got in personal contact with Justgiving page holders asking their opinion, and we decided that we would rather donate via the OLT site directly. So no Justgiving for OLT anymore. I now created a page where I can post receipts of donations, and will announce fund raising news - for the sake of inspiration!

To happy fund raising!


  1. Hi Rika, I read your post and definitely understand your concerns of getting support from the charity, and expecting others to be reasonable. I'm JustGiving's community manager, so I wanted to share my thoughts on this:

    I think it's important to understand that in reality, charities typically spend 15-25% of their revenue on fundraising (, and in comparison, our fee constitutes exceptionally good value. Also, if you claimed Gift Aid, the charity would have actually received 119% of your donation! I am also proud to say that we are a for-profit company because we re-invest our profits into developing products, services and support both for charities and fundraisers, allowing them to raise even more.

    If you have any other concerns or questions please don’t hesitate to get in touch via email, and I’ll respond as soon as I can :)

  2. Hi Tal, Thank you for your response. This is an interesting discussion and it is important to hear all sides for people to make up their own minds.