At the last count there were around 170,000 charities in England and Wales alone, so it’ll come as no surprise to learn that the competition to win supporters is fierce.
Here at Forever Manchester one of the things we often talk about is, how we make donating to us as compelling or even emotional an experience as some of the bigger, well known charity brands.
It’s a tricky question and one which brings in much bigger issues, like, why do people give to charities in the first place?
The predicament we face is that the big national charity campaigns use powerful and emotive language and focus on often shocking photographs of the people they are trying to help – victims of famine, cancer sufferers or children living in poverty.
These campaigns are incredibly effective at getting us to put our hands in our pockets, they appeal to our guilty consciences, to evoke pity
or sympathy, they provide us with an opportunity to show how compassionate and caring we are and help satisfy our innate charitable instinct.
So where does Forever Manchester fit in?
Well if these traditional, well known, charities are cause related, we are best described as people and place related. Local, place based charity is a totally different kind of animal to the glitzy, celebrity backed national movements or the worldsaving missions we often associate with big charity.
We may not have the heart wrenching photograph of the malnourished child to make our point, but our local approach; building things up close to home is something that affects us all on a daily basis and provides a genuine opportunity to make a lasting difference for those who understand and believe in the value of place.
Donating money matters, but it doesn’t matter as much as relationships. And money goes furthest when it can influence relationships. Connecting with each other and belonging are the keys to building community. When we connect with each other, when we’re seen and heard, we are better able to work together to share ideas and find new solutions for our neighbourhoods.
Forever Manchester is all about the place and the people that live here. We want to know how a community is functioning, what draws people there and compels them to invest their time and passion to make the community better.
We want to know what makes the community tick, what makes it strong or vulnerable, what works well and what the barriers are. We want to know why some communities are places where people get stuff done whereas in other areas people wait for someone else to fix what is broken. We want to understand local relationships, and the local culture that enables a community to deal with the little things and the big things.
We build relationships with local people in their own backyards. We are not passive players or fixers of problems, we build meaningful lasting relationships with people who are traditionally not at the strategy table and we make grants that reach beyond the professional grant seekers and get to real people.
If you’re someone who has the time roll up your sleeves and get involved directly with your community or if you donate or raise funds for Forever Manchester you’re already helping make sure
that our communities will be happy, healthy and resilient places to live, work and play in the future.
If like me, you love this place then you’ll get what we’re all about and you’ll know why it’s vital to see giving locally as our responsibility. This is the place!