When we talk about the need to Think Local and Give Local people raise the challenge that we should not aim to stop people giving to more deprived areas nationally or in the Third World They point to the fact Berkshire is an affluent area with little real deprivation or need and the discussion usually gets divided into should you give in Berkshire or elsewhere.
From the start of the campaign the intention has never been to suggest that one form of giving is better than another. Our starting point is that all giving is good and a very personal choice as to the places and causes one supports. We wouldn’t wish to divert anyone away from supporting the causes that they believe they should support whether it be local or not.
What has concerned us is that polarisation of giving is happening anyway. Charity Commission statistics show that about 90% of giving goes to the top 10% of international and national charities and 1 in 2 people are unable to name a local charity. Interviews with local business and people back up this picture of local charities finding it very hard to get even a small share of locally donated monies.
But this is not the whole picture, whilst the numbers may be small, areas of Berkshire are within the worst 20% of deprivation in the country. We have issues that whilst not directly linked to financial disadvantage are difficult in themselves such as isolation of older people and the growing number of carers both of the young and old. And whilst many charities fund raise vigorously inBerkshire, a strong fundraising presence does not always equate to any action taking place in the County to resolve these issues.
So what does Think Local Give Local campaign hope to suggest?? Continue to give to who you choose, including national and international charities, but please consider giving locally as there are many groups who need help where you live or work – just a small change in giving would make a big difference.
CEO, Berkshire Community Foundation