Remittances vs philanthropy

Diversity in philanthropy seems to be the new hot topic. Having been approached by various publications no end, I feel it is time to set the record straight. I am always bemused as to why there is no apparent mainstream interest in researching how to harness the growing wealth of BME communities in the UK. There seems to be either a lack of interest or over-cautiousness by mainstream philanthropic organisations.

However, if we look at remittances from BME communities during the past year, according to findings in Understanding Society (a study of UK households), one in five migrants sent money out of the UK in the form of remittances. It also reported that 88% of those making such a payment sent funds to family members or to friends, whilst a mere 12% sent money to support a local community.

They also found that sending money overseas is seen as a key feature of immigrant behaviour; the key findings on remittances show that these are more common among migrants, more so among second-generation than third generation.

Black Africans were most likely to remit money – more than 1 in 3 doing so. Many low-income people remit a significant portion of their income, with the poorest remitting more than 30% of their income.

Conversely, the same Report (Understanding Society: Findings 2012) also indicated that very few White British respondents remitted money, even among migrants to the UK, with just 1 in 5 doing so.

Such is the importance of remittances that respected publication, The Economist, recently dedicated a whole section of its publication to the subject. The value of remittances to poor countries has been so significant that since 1996 remittances have been worth more than all overseas development aid.

Remittances are not just big but continue to grow. Thanks to organisations like Western Union and MoneyGram, it is a lot easier to report the level of giving.

So what does this mean for the Church?

It strikes me that there is a real synergy between remittances and mission work. Statistics already prove that BME communities are good at giving overseas and at sacrificial giving. Perhaps it is time to take it one step further, and give beyond our families and friends into the wider community, through structured and organised giving.

The Shai Foundation is one such group to have done so. Jenny Lapompe set up this charitable organisation in 2010 to encourage Christians in response to Christ’s Commission to His followers to spread the Gospel. The Foundation primarily focuses on promoting and supporting missions across the world.

However, albeit inadvertently, the Shai Foundation also promotes philanthropy via its “Give God 5” concept, which basically sees donations in multiples of 5 – from £5 to £50,000. Potential donors are invited to register with the Foundation and donate a minimum of £5 regularly. They then encourage others to do the same. International donors can give the equivalent of £5 upwards. Aside from regular donations, individuals and organisations are encouraged to make a significant ‘one off’ donation to overseas mission work.

The Shai Foundation, along with Hope Force International, will undertake a mission trip in October later this year to build homes in Haiti. The trip has already seen renowned Christian artists, such as Lyrical Healer, come on board as part of the mission trip. See http://www.shaifoundation.org/ for further information, or to support the Project.

Funding Focus

Help the Homeless ( UK )

Help the Homeless, a national Charity which aims to help homeless people through the United Kingdom to resume a normal life is currently accepting applications from small and medium sized charities and voluntary organisations. Grants of up to £5,000 are available towards capital costs to support projects that assist disadvantaged individuals in their return to mainstream society, through residential or training facilities. Grants to larger charities may be considered if the project is suitably innovative and only possible for a larger organisation to develop it.

Previous projects supported include the Lamp Community who received A grant of £2,845 to towards the cost of computers for re-integration work at their drop-in centres and a grant of £2,000 to Spires, a South London Homeless charity towards the cost of providing daily services to clients, including the provision of food and clothing.

Visit www.help-the-homeless.org.uk more details.

Date for your Diaries

Borrowing for Financial Sustainability

: A half day training course for charities and voluntary organisations considering borrowing money to provide a more secure financial future.

: 27 September 2012

: NCVO, National Council for Voluntary Organisations

Society Wharf

8 All Saints Street

London N1 9RL

: 2pm – 5pm

: £75

During this masterclass social finance experts Unity Trust will speak about the uses and risks of loan finance, and share details of the different types of social finance available to voluntary organisations.

A representative from independent charity Basics Plus will also talk about how their organisation grew as a result of taking out a commercial mortgage to purchase and renovate a failing visitor centre, which now provides training and employment for disabled adults and has become a valuable asset to the Yorkshire Coast tourism industry.

For more details phone 020 7520 2519 or email sfp@ncvo-vol.org.uk

Lara Rufus BA, MSc, Fundraising Consultant and Chair of the Black Fundraisers’ Network; www.bfn.org.uk. Email lara@bfn.org.uk or info@bfn.org.uk

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