How to give a helping hand to small charities
Fundraising in the shadow of the big name charities is hard work, but the efforts of small, community organisations are vital. By Rob Griffin
Saturday 11 December 2010
Billions of pounds are given to charities every year but most of this money finds its way to the highest profile names which leaves smaller organisations without the power of well known brands struggling to survive. In fact, more than half of them have experienced problems maintaining income flow over the past two years, according to a report from the Charity Commission entitled: 'Strength in numbers – small charities' experience of working together'.
The findings don't surprise Cath Lee, chief executive of the Small Charities Coalition, who points out that a major issue is the difficulty they have in competing with household names that have the financial power to get themselves in front of people. "They face a particular challenge to raise their own profiles on more limited resources," she explains. "In addition, they are often set up by people that may have passion for a particular cause but lack the marketing knowledge."
However, she points out that the work they carry out is vital. "They often deal with specific, niche causes and are rooted in their communities, which puts them in a unique position to be able to understand its needs and be the catalyst for change," she adds.
The good news is there are plenty of ways to help these organisations. All you need is a few spare minutes to surf the internet or browse local publications to discover projects close to your heart that will all be in desperate need of your time and money.
A good starting point is the recently launched website at www.localgiving.com which enables visitors to search local charities and community groups by area, cause and people likely to benefit from any donations that are received.
According to its founder and chief executive officer, Marcelle Speller, it offers charities the chance to have their own pages with the ability to add photos and text any time, giving details about their work to raise awareness and funds. "Right now only big charities have the wherewithal to build and maintain a website to raise money online," she says. "Localgiving.com was launched to help small charities and community groups do the same."
How to give money to charity
Specific ways to help at Christmas
The most obvious way is through buying and sending charity Christmas cards but make sure you know exactly how much will go to your chosen cause.
Another popular route is using a designated charity credit card which pledges to give a donation every time you use it. However, Chris Griffiths, head of Credit Cards, at Confused.com, believes the benefits are debatable.
"While they undoubtedly have honourable intentions, customers may in fact be able to make a bigger contribution by using a traditional cashback card and donating their rewards to the chosen charity themselves," he says.
If you are a UK taxpayer and want to give a donation then make sure it benefits from Gift Aid, which is a tax break that increases the value of your donation – and doesn't cost you a penny more. All it takes is for you to sign a declaration form.
For every £1 you donate Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs will give an extra 28p to the charity, while higher rate taxpayers can also claim the difference between the basic and higher rates of tax when they complete their year end tax return.
Unfortunately, two out of five people who give to charity forget to claim Gift Aid on their donations potentially depriving good causes of a 28 per cent boost on money raised, according to research from Virgin Money Giving shows. Just over half of donors (53 per cent) always claim it and 40 per cent say they would do so if reminded.
Giving as you earn
Donations can be made through your salary. With 'Give as you Earn', donations are taken from your pre-tax pay and benefit from the full income tax relief. This means that a £10 donation will only cost a basic rate taxpayer £8, a higher rate taxpayer £6 and a 50 per cent taxpayer £5. All you need to do is ask your payroll department to deduct regular charitable donations from their gross pay. The company then passes that money to their chosen Payroll Giving agency, which forward the donations to the nominated charities. In addition, some employers even agree to match donations.
Donate to your local charity shop
Visit the Charity Retail Associations' website (you'll find it at www.charityretail.org.uk) to find shops near you. Anything can be donated but ensure it's not broken and try to take it in yourself rather than the charity having to pay for its collection.
Items that are always in demand include bags, books, clothing, crockery, games, films, jewellery, music, ornaments, paintings, shoes, and toys, as well as more unusual items such as sports equipment and musical instruments.
Opening up a charity account
An option for those who plan to give regularly to a variety of charities is a Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) Charity Account which works in the same way as a normal current account, but only holds cash you have put aside for donating. As CAF is a registered charity it reclaims the basic rate tax on the money in your account and adds it to your balance – less a fee to cover its costs – so you won't have to sign separate Gift Aid declarations.
Leaving money in your will
A legacy allows people to leave something behind for a good cause. Visit ww.rememberacharity.org.uk for more information.
Molly Bedingfield has been a passionate supporter of charities for many years, but her life dramatically changed after realising the public increasingly wanted reassurance that every penny they donated was going to their chosen cause.
Her solution was to set up Global Angels (www.globalangels.org), an international charitable foundation that champions the causes of children and young people around the world and helps develop sustainable solutions to their problems.
In the five years since it was launched the organisation has raised more than £2m for projects as diverse as providing safe drinking water for 100,000 people in Kenya and helping build secondary schools in Uganda.
"I felt there needed to be a new model whereby donors knew the money would all go to specific projects," she explains. "My kids had also just done really well in the music business so there was a platform among their fan base to make a real difference."
Those children are the international recording artists Natasha and Daniel Bedingfield who are both heavily involved in the organisation that works by researching the work of various charities and then offering its assistance.
"We have a large network of smaller charities and projects that are doing an excellent job but need help to move them on to the next stage of their development," explains Molly. "Everyone that donates knows that their money is making a real difference."
While most of the money raised goes to projects overseas, the organisation also works with UK focused charities. However, Molly's pride at what Global Angels has achieved is tinged with sadness and frustration that so many more people are in need.
"Nearly two million children are dying each year because they don't have safe drinking water," she explains. "Part of you is pleased to have helped 100,000 of them but you can't help asking yourself: what about the rest?"
There are a number of ways in which you can get involved. The simplest is by logging on to the website (www.globalangels.org) and giving money directly to one of the projects featured – or raising money by dreaming up your own adventure.
"Everyone can be an angel and we make it easy for them by finding outstanding projects," adds Molly. "I would urge everyone to visit our website and help make a real difference to millions of people's lives."
Small charities that need help
The Barby Keel Animal Sanctuary in Sidley, East Sussex, has been caring for neglected animals for almost 40 years, but is finding it increasingly tough to raise the £6,000-a-month needed to carry out its work. As well as accepting donations, its fundraising efforts include an annual fun day, held in August, as well as the opportunity to sponsor one of its many residents, including dogs, chickens, birds, cats and horses. Find out more at: www.barbykeelanimalsanctuary.org
Empowering Families is based in Brent and aims to develop the capacity and skills of families in lower income neighbourhoods. It also promotes social inclusion so people can participate more fully in their community. The work includes a Family Life Skills & Parenting Skills Programme, a programme helping Year 7 pupils make the transition to secondary school, and support groups foryoung parents. Find out more at www.empoweringfamilies.org.uk
The Coventry-based Erb's Palsy Group exists to educate the public about the condition, as well as providing guidance to sufferers and their families in order to assist them achieve their full potential. Its work includes giving support, linking parents up with each other, producing a quarterly newsletter, helping obtain medical information, advising on benefits and organising annual education days for professionals. Find out more at www.erbspalsygroup.co.uk
Independent Partners; Do you need financial advice on your investments, pension or insurance? Book a free consultation with an independent Financial Adviser at VouchedFor.co.uk
Investors told to travel the world in the search for higher returns
Is having individual billionaires good or bad for a country's economy?
Peer-to-peer lending rates put Nisas to shame
The most expensive cities in the world 2015
Is there a connection between luxury student accommodation and high levels of debt?
- 1 Game of Thrones season 6: Jon Snow theorists believe Ned Stark's son may have a twin sister
- 2 Artist takes LSD, draws herself over different stages of the 9-hour trip to show its effects
- 3 Miley Cyrus address Robin Thicke VMA controversy: ‘He wanted me as naked as possible, but I got the heat because I’m a woman’
- 4 iPhone 6s camera: features to include 4K video camera and flash for selfies
- 5 A pint of water every day is the key to losing weight, scientists say
Dresden riots: Protesters in Germany attack refugee buses shouting 'foreigners out'
France train shooting: US soldiers speak of the moment they stopped gunman and 'beat him until he was unconscious'
Labour leadership: Jeremy Corbyn accused of 'deluding' young supporters with 'claptrap'
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn
iJobs Money & Business
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: From modest beginnings the comp...
£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: From modest beginnings the comp...
£15000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...
Day In a Page
In a sandbanks location, moments from the beach, this three-bedroom apartment has a large open-plan living area and a south-west facing balcony.
This four-bedroom home has an annexe accessed from the side of the house, with potential for improvement and conversion subject to the necessary permissions.
In the heart of the hamlet of Wardley, this five-bedroom period home offers countryside views and a stylish interior, with original features and open fireplaces.
Offering countryside views and landscaped gardens, this three-bedroom Grade II-listed lodge has a spacious conservatory and a large cellar that could serve as a workshop.
Set in approximately 1.5 acres, this four-bedroom home comes with a second, detached property that's currently used as an annexe.
In the hamlet of Newchurch, this former parish church is now a four-bedroom home complete with clock tower and eyrie.
Offering scenic views from a large balcony and sun terrace, this four-bedroom home has a wraparound garden and a heated swimming pool.
Offering views across the Humber and East Yorkshire Wolds from a glass panelled balcony, this four-bedroom barn-style home befits a life of leisure.
This four-bedroom home offers versatile accommodation with annexe potential; features include a hot tub, sauna and Norwegian BBQ hut.
Well-located for schools, colleges and the town centre, this contemporary thatched cottage offers flexible living space with six bedrooms.
Built in 1907, this four-bedroom Edwardian period home has been refurbished by the current owners, retaining many original period features.
Surrounded by landscaped gardens, this five-bedroom home offers living space across three floors.
This lovely country home in Burnham Market is currently run as a popular holiday cottage, with five en suite bedrooms and colourful gardens.
This three-bedroom 17th-century former village bakery is just a few miles from the East Sussex coast.
Set on a landscaped plot, this light and airy four-bedroom home comes with a log burner in the lounge, a fitted kitchen and an open-plan ground-floor layout.
Set sail for this four-bedroom farmhouse in Cowes. With five acres of land and an indoor pool, this home oozes character. There is even potential to let a one-bedroom annexe.
Built on a former chapel site, this impressive four-bedroom home boasts balconies, stunning views and contemporary modern living.
This three-bedroom house is situated in a quiet mews and set over three floors. Features include glazed staircases and high ceilings.
A period townhouse set over four floors, this five-bedroom home was built in the 18th Century and retains many original features.
With five bedrooms, this spacious home offers beautiful gardens and modern interiors - set within the popular market town of Bingley.
A few miles from the seaside at Perranporth, this four-bedroom farmhouse sits amongst nine acres of idyllic grounds - including a lake and two barns used as holiday lets.
In the pretty market town of Bungay, this grade II-listed Mill House is arranged over four floors, offering four bedrooms and three reception areas.
This first-floor flat comes with two bedrooms, an impressive open-plan reception room and two lovely roof terraces.
This five-bedroom home comes with a range of outbuildings including a large barn which could be converted into a self-contained granny-flat or rental.
Moored at Taggs Island and reached via a pretty garden, this two-bedroom houseboat has a vaulted reception room and skylit garden studio - currently a beauty salon.
On the edge of the city, this six-bedroom home comes with an outdoor swimming pool and a large garage block that has annexe potential.
A contemporary house spread over three storeys, this three-bedroom detached home has large sliding doors that open out to the River Quaggy.
Moored in Chelsea's Cheyne Walk, this houseboat offers two double bedrooms and a teak deck that's ideal for al-fresco dining.
This former village bakery, dating back to the 17th century, is now a three-bedroom detached home just a few miles from the East Sussex coast.
On the picturesque Isle of Man, this four-bedroom character home has a ground-floor shop that's currently run as a newsagents and a flat that would make an ideal holiday let.
In a new collection of flats, this first-floor two-bedroom apartment offers ample entertaining space and a prime view of Furze Green from a private balcony.
This three-bedroom stone-built cottage currently trades as the village store with a restaurant in the annexe and family accommodation on the upper floors.
Previously two semi-detached properties, this five-bedroom home is spread over three floors with a large breakfast kitchen, orangery, office and gym on the second floor.
This five-bedroom home enjoys countryside views over the Blyth estuary to Southwold, offering flexible living space with a ground-floor annexe - ideal for use as a holiday let.
Close to the market town of Eye, this four-bedroom detached home offers a double-height living room which takes the place of the original, 19th-century, chapel nave.
Dating back to the 19th century, this four-bedroom home needs modernising. Spanning three storeys, the red-brick house has a fireplace, a small terrace and a cellar.
Just outside of Cambridge, this single-storey home offers three double bedrooms, a living room with vaulted timber ceiling and ladder steps that lead to a mezzanine study area.
This six-bedroom Georgian home is on three floors with open fireplaces, a two oven Aga, an annexe, and cottage gardens with outbuildings and a car barn.
A former coach house, Glebe Farm Stable is now a three-bedroom cottage with a double car barn, an attached office, kennels and an outbuilding that's currently used as a gym.
Located beside an impressive Victorian viaduct, this four-bedroom home has an open-plan living area that is glazed on two sides, with skylights and high ceilings.
A former furniture workshop, this three-bedroom home has high ceilings and painted brick walls, in a village setting only fifteen miles from the coast.
This five-bedroom stone townhouse features a pine staircase and an Inglenuk fireplace, double doors from the lounge give access to an enclosed courtyard.
This five-bedroom, detached home blends traditional and modern design; the sleek kitchen features a gas hob and oven set within an exposed chimney breast.
Capitalise on the fabulous views of Trevone Bay by taking two homes and creating one spacious boutique B&B. Just a cliff-top walk from Padstow.
Surrounded by woodland, this five-bedroom manor house has plenty of outdoor storage space in the form of three converted loose boxes, two smaller outhouses and a woodstore.
This six-bedroom home is set amongst three acres of grounds. Currently a large family home, Clift Hill has potential to make a B&B or countryside retreat, subject to change of use permissions.
This Grade II-listed three-bedroom home is situated on a private road, just a short walk from the sandy beaches of Frinton-on-Sea.
Less than five miles from Malmesbury, this four-bedroom cottage comes with equestrian facilities and gardens that extend to approximately three acres.
Spanning three storeys, this late-Victorian five-bedroom farmhouse is a spacious family home with a modern interior and B&B potential.
With an original church arch, this triplex one-bedroom church conversion has a light, spacious, feel and comes with a secure off-street parking space.