Most of us like to give good causes (many like to practice tithing, which is giving at least 10% away of your income). Years ago, this would be to your place of worship but now with different beliefs (and concern over abuse in the church etc), many prefer instead to give to causes they feel passionate about, whether that’s a local animal sanctuary or homeless shelter or international projects.
The main issues are that often ‘big charity’ spends a greater portion of donations that we would like on TV ads (the average one costs around £3000) and company cars. There are even ‘chuggers’ (so-called ‘charity muggers’ who get paid to accost you in the street, then sign you up to big charities who want you to donate monthly and leave a legacy, even though you’re iffy about where the money goes. There have been many recent scandals involving big charities, including one hiding allegations of misconduct in Haiti, as it was worried this would affect donations.
Big charity also leads to our streets being inundated with charity shops that often cause thousands in rent, when the money should be going to good causes instead. There’s nothing wrong with paying a manager to run a charity, but the amounts given are sometimes eye-watering for a nonprofit (along with all the perks). Here are some alternative ideas!
how to donate anonymously
Charities Aid Foundation run a scheme where you can set up an account, then put money into it, and use it to donate to charities of your choice. If you tick the ‘anonymous’ box, your details won’t be passed on. The idea is to stop the scandal where vulnerable people (like the lovely poppy seller in Bristol) don’t get their details sold on (at the time of her death, she was giving nearly all her money away, receiving dozens of letters a week from big charities who had bought her name, due to her generosity). The foundation also runs a simple bank account for small charities.
ensure you’re sign up for gift aid
Gift Aid requires a declaration form from taxpayers, so charities can claim an extra 25p on each £1 donated, at no cost to you. You can include all donations from the last 4 years, but you must tell the charities you support if you stop paying enough tax, and there are special rules for higher-rate taxpayers. The government page is very complicated to understand, but presumably that’s the point.
give to small local causes
localgiving was founded by an entrepreneur who appeared on Channel 4’s Secret Millionaire. You can find tiny charities in your area that can list on this site, gaining all the benefits of a large site with good traffic, in return for a small percentage to fund the site. Click the map to find good causes.
Neighbourly is an award-winning giving platform where businesses can donate volunteer time, money and surplus products (food hygiene certificates required) all in one place.
Kitchen Table Charities Trust was set up by former newsreader John Humphries, who was frustrated at the huge costs spent by big charity. Donations here go to help small projects in developing countries (solar panels, disability equipment, books, grants etc) with not one penny being spent on UK administration).
spend & give at the same time
Clothing brands that help animal charities offer organic cotton t-shirts and hoodies. So when time comes to replace, you can restock your wardrobe and donate to charities at the same time!
Charity Bank has simple savings accounts with short application forms. Money deposited is used to do good for local community projects. So it’s kind of like a bank and charity at the same time.
how tiny charities can raise funds
Teemill is a company run by Isle of Wight fashion brand Rapanui. Small charities can create original designs, then the company will send out ‘print-on-demand’ organic cotton t-shirts in zero waste packaging (printed locally with green energy) to your supporters, and you raise money. At end of life, the t-shirts (and sweatshirts and baseball caps) can all be sent back for recycling into new items.
Crowdfunder is a non-profit version of business crowdfunding, where you list your cause for people to pool small amounts. From building hedgehog hospitals to buying community pubs and refurbishing indie cinemas, there is something for everyone.