We are making it easier for people who would like to do their bit
Published: 21 Oct 2013 08:00
Berkshire has a special place in the Localgiving.com history because it was the first area in the country to take donations, in November 2009. Much of this is down to a partnership with Berkshire Community Foundation (BCF) and the real enthusiasm of Berkshire charities and voluntary groups.
In 2005 we sold Holiday-Rentals.com, the company I co-founded in 1996. In the months that followed the sale, I started to look to do ‘something worthwhile’. I was impressed with the many small local charities working on the rock face to improve their communities. I saw the problems they faced in fundraising and building awareness, and realised that the growth of online giving was seen as a threat. Using the skills I gained with Holiday-Rentals.com, I decided to help.
I also noticed there was a real public desire to give locally, but that it was difficult for donors to find local charities. My problem identifying local charities was solved by working with UK Community Foundations, which give grants to about 20,000 local charities and Localgiving.com was born. Very early on I met Andrew Middleton, chief executive officer at Berkshire Community Foundation and BCF has been closely involved with the development of Localgiving.com almost from the start.
It is a non-profit website, helping small charities and local groups promote themselves by raising money and awareness online.
All charities rely on donations, volunteers, practical help and advice. But for the small charities, survival can be tough without the support of those who care about the community. At Localgiving.com, we are making it easier for people who would like to do their bit for their neighbourhood to engage with the charities who desperately need support.
One big difference between Localgiving.com and other fundraising websites is that we focus entirely on local charities. All money raised must go back into the community where the charity is based. If a charity is national, it cannot be on Localgiving.com
Last Tuesday, we launched our second Grow Your Tenner campaign, which means we will double donations up to £10, so a tenner becomes £20, or £22.50 with Gift Aid. And on monthly donations, we’ll double up to £10 a month for six months.
More than £250,000 has been raised locally in Berkshire over the last two years on Localgiving.com, and we hope this will be a big success and readers will get behind the campaign.
In Reading, in particular, there is a campaign in conjunction with Berkshire Community Foundation and Reading Voluntary Action to raise awareness of the great work of the borough’s small voluntary groups. Residents will see billboards and a number of Reading buses asking for support.
With the launch of BCF’s Vital Signs report two weeks ago, it clearly showed that Berkshire voluntary groups are finding it difficult in the economic climate and local support for voluntary groups is really needed now.
The most important thing for Localgiving.com going forward is that we continue to grow awareness of charities and supporters working in Berkshire. These small and dedicated groups do so much to build strength in their own back yards and Localgiving.com is there to help them through online donations, marketing and fundraising.
- 90% of income goes to the largest 10% of predominately international and national charities
- One in two people cannot name a local charity
- 75% of local voluntary groups surveyed for the Vital Signs Report have seen income drop over the last two years
- There are over 6,000 small voluntary groups in Berkshire Community Foundation
- The Berkshire Community Foundation’s Vital Signs report can be downloaded at ww.berkshirecf.org
- More details on the Grow your Tenner Campaign can be found at www.localgiving.com/berkshire
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