Our story is not ours, but the story of the thousands of organisations around the world who strive continually to improve the lives of the people they live with. Without them, the world would be a much worse place for many, many more millions than it already is. This is no exaggeration. The fact is, to change the world for the better doesn’t require a revolution by the many but the dedication of a few.
Grassroots organisations have distinct advantages over larger organisations. Most importantly they belong to the communities they support. They are of the soil, so to speak. They know the challenges. They know what is needed, where it is needed, and when it is needed. They are local, they are lithe, and they are quick to respond to the needs of their communities.
Small is Beautiful. But Small is…SMALL
The biggest threat to the independence of grassroots organisations is, as you might guess, their size. To survive, the temptation is to seek funding either from a single large organisation, or one or two wealthy patrons. The weakness of such a strategy is that, however well-meaning the benefactor/s, power ultimately lies with the purse. If the donor suggests the well is best sited at spot X, is it wise for the digger to argue for spot Y?
This is the point at which our story emerges from theirs.
Our ambition is to do everything we can to help small organisations maintain their integrity, effectiveness and independence. And by taking advantage of the technology now available, we are able to to achieve goals in ways that simply were not possible a few years ago. We can train and mentor individuals and organisations online to help them become independent and capable fundraisers. We can show them how to develop a broad base of funders by mapping and developing their existing networks. Finally, of course, we are able to offer our partners a site or platform where they can meet new friends and donors from around the world.
In addition, we run an advanced volunteer programme. At its simplest, it allows partners to post small projects on our online board for skilled volunteers, drawn from major corporations, to respond to. At its most sophisticated it offers partners a five day evaluation programme on their home ground to analyse every aspect of their organisation, from its internal structure and management, to its fundraising and communications strategies, with the objective of helping them strengthen their performance overall. (It also offers us the opportunity to evaluate how effectively the organisation is at utilising our donors’ funds.)
GlobalGiving UK – the Charity
Unlike other online donation sites, GlobalGiving UK is a charity itself, albeit a charity working exclusively on behalf of other charities. We too rely on funding to perform our work. To be clear about our costs: we deduct 10% of every donation in order to be able to maintain our online presence and run our training programmes – and that is it. We do not charge our partners an introductory fee to post on our site. The 10% funds our basic overheads in guaranteeing that our donors’ investment is funding the work they wish it to effectively and efficiently. It does not cover the costs of all our programmes. For that, we like everyone have to undertake our own fundraising as well as seeking funding from institutions and corporates.