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Giving Tuesday – another US import or something to adopt in Wales?

December 3rd 2019

On Giving Tuesday, Victoria Winckler asks if it is an unwelcome US import or something to celebrate here in Wales.

Giving Tuesday is one of those US phenomenons that has crept into British culture, a bit like baby showers and Black Friday. Unlike many of cultural imports, Giving Tuesday is something to welcome and make our own.

Why bother about Giving Tuesday?

Giving Tuesday is important because it celebrates charitable giving for its own sake. It isn’t about a particular cause, like Children in Need, and it isn’t based on celebrity, like Comic Relief. It simply says everyone can make a difference by supporting the charity of their choice.

At a time when it sometimes seems like our social relationships are reduced to ‘grab what you can’, this is a vitally important message

Unpopular causes

Giving Tuesday is especially important for smaller charities or charities working on unpopular causes.  My own social media timeline is full of appeals for funds for children and cats but I have yet to see one that asks me to help a drug addict or a prisoner.

The Bevan Foundation’s Christmas appeal this year is one of those relatively unpopular causes – migrants in Wales.  We thought long and hard before choosing this area of work. In the end we were driven to do it by the shocking stories of harassment, exclusion and loss of rights that we were hearing from people who have long lived here.  We can genuinely make a difference by creating practical tools to help inclusion. And – crucially – we run out of funds for this vital work in February.

So every penny towards our appeal counts.

Independence

There are many criticisms that the ‘third sector’ in Wales is too influenced by the Welsh Government. By providing essential core funding along with a direction as to how it is to be used, it is argued that the Welsh Government sets organisations’ agendas and discourages challenge and criticism.

That may be true of some larger charities, but if they don’t receive Welsh Government funds how are they to provide services?   The alternatives are limited.  Charities do not have a magic money tree in their back yards.

The most valuable alternative is donations by the public.  They are freely given, come without strings and, for larger charities, are a significant stream of income.  In total public donations provided nearly half (45%) of charities’ revenue in 2016/17.

For those who feel the Welsh third sector is a puppet of Welsh Ministers then the best thing they can do is dig deep this Giving Tuesday and ensure that charities are free of the state’s grip.

This Giving Tuesday:

  • We’re asking everyone who wants to celebrate diversity in Wales to support our appeal.

  • We’re asking everyone who loves Joe’s Ice Cream or Wrexham lager (both made by immigrants to Wales) to support our appeal.

  • And we’re asking everyone who is concerned about hatred and abuse in our society to support our appeal.

Thank you.

Victoria Winckler is Director of the Bevan Foundation. 

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