Of the four partners in the Fund the Front Line campaign, we can modestly claim to be the least well known. To the uninformed, the reason for our inclusion would appear to need no explanation. The clue, you may say, is in the name, GlobalGiving UK. It is evident we are the postal service employed to deliver funds from A to B.
True but not the whole truth. And certainly not the exclusive reason why we were invited by the Stars Foundation to become involved in this project at an early stage.
Our expertise is in dealing with individuals and organizations from around the globe; organizations who hope to fund smaller projects that can so easily be overlooked within a global context, but that are, of course, still of huge consequence at the local level.
Much of our work splits between vetting people and organizations and training them. On the one hand, we have to be sure of the integrity of anyone applying to be listed on our project development site. On the other, we recognise many will need support in learning how to raise funds for themselves and continually improving their work to make the biggest impact.
From its inception, GlobalGiving understood the importance of gaining the active involvement of the protagonists in the fundraising process as well as the necessity of a broad donor base. The broader the base the more secure and sustainable the project. Ultimately, a broad donor base helps keep the ownership and the responsibility for the outcome of a project with those at the sharp end. In brief, it empowers those who do the work.
With these tenets guiding us, we have a challenge, called the Gateway Challenge, which takes place on a regular basis. It is open to everyone and anyone who wants to post their project on our site. But to be able to do that, they must first demonstrate their ability to build a long-term, sustainable donor base by raising £2,000 from 50 individual donors within one month. In the lead up we help those participating prepare for the challenge with the necessary training to help them with their fundraising, such as how to identify and map networks, exploit social media, and so on. (Needless to say, those who do not make it first time are always welcome to try again.)
To return to the Fund the Front Line, when the idea was first mooted, we strongly urged it should not be just a straightforward fund-donating exercise, but should be a means to help the selected organizations become more self-reliant and more sustainable for the longer term. As a result it was decided the theme for the promotion should be ‘Double the Donation’. Whatever you raise, we’ll match.
Now, if we are to be fair to all those involved, the success of Fund the Front Line should not be measured purely in immediate fiscal terms. The major benefits – what Muna Wehbe writes of as ‘the advantages that come from supporting local organizations more directly’ – in other words, self-determination and independence of action – can only be reasonably judged in the months to come.
And, pound for matched pound, we bet it will be judged a great success.
Eleanor Harrison is CEO of GlobalGiving UK. David O’Connor Thompson works as a volunteer for GlobalGiving UK.