Charles Kenyon: So many ways to 'get stuck in' for charity

It's not just about direct help, writes our columnist

Charles Kenyon
Charles Kenyon

There was an irritating bit in The Archers recently when a character sneered at a businessman for sponsoring fundraising events, rather than "getting stuck in" by helping the charity directly.

For many charities without local authority contracts or government grants, the fundraising appeal is vital. Getting business people to donate money or speak is crucial, and they will bring their friends and chequebooks. It is sometimes the only way smaller charities can survive.

I have recently been giving money to a rough sleeper. One day when he was no longer on his normal pitch I went to look for him and found he had been beaten up. I contacted the local outreach organisation: I was told he had a flat and was on the streets to raise money for the drugs market. The head of a rough sleeping unit told me it was important to understand people's circumstances before giving money and it was often best to support the professional first. A valuable lesson.

In the next village lives a respected agronomist and top-class charity event speaker, who charges some charities for his time. Audiences can be difficult and he must be subtle with the ask. He does this all over the country, then travels back for his day job. His charity work is extraordinary. It delivers the means by which those who know what they are doing can "get stuck in". If an Archers scriptwriter reads this, please say something about the value of attracting high-net-worth givers.

Charles Kenyon lives near Market Rasen, retiredcolonel@oldvicarage.net

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