Monday, 16 April 2012

What can I do?

Sometimes it all seems hopeless.

8 million children died last year from preventable diseases.

Hundreds of thousands of people have been affected by the most recent natural disaster.

1.6 million kids here in the UK live in extreme poverty.

These are the causes that charities raise money for each day. But how can we encourage donors to respond to issues of such magnitude?

The likely answer – to tell them the sheer scale of the problem – doesn’t always work as well as you might imagine.

You see, if you want me to support an appeal to end child poverty, and you tell me that 8 million children are dying as a result of it, it all seems too much. Even if we're talking about child poverty here at home, 1.6 million is a terrifyingly large number. My reaction is to think that my donation can’t touch this problem - that it would be too insignificant to make a difference.

This advert here is an emergency appeal for a recent natural disaster. It tells us that hundreds of thousands of people have been affected by the major disaster. This is a tragedy, but my £50  cannot help hundreds of thousands. As a result I do nothing.

As charities we must present donors with options that will show them how their money will go to work,options that will show them how their donation can make a difference.

More than 2 million children die every year in India from starvation. The scale of this is more than I can comprehend. But what ActionAid have done here is to present me with a situation that I can make sense of.

Seven year old Rupali lives with her family in a one room shack in the slums of Mumbai. She does not eat properly and cannot afford to go to school. Sponsoring Rupali costs just 50p a day.

I can help here. I can make a difference to Rupali's life and situation if I can give 50p a day.

Whatever we are raising money for, we would do well to remember Rupali's story. We might not be able to help the 2 million children starving in India, but we can help this one.

At the end of the day, most people really do want to make a difference. And as charities, it is our job to offer them a chance to do just that.



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