Today is Giving Tuesday, an initiative to encourage people to support the work of charities and other good causes. It’s an opportunity to make a donation to your favourite cause, or to consider an offer of time through volunteering or organising a fundraising event.
For LGBT charities giving is a vital lifeline. Services like London Friend rely on the generosity of givers to be able to provide the support we do to over 3000 LGBT people each year. Our work is regularly supported by over 100 volunteers who help to run our coming out and social groups, our helpline, our counselling service and Antidote, our LGBT drug & alcohol service. Volunteering is a way of giving back to your community, and supporting fellow LGBT people who are experiencing a difficult time.
We rely too on monetary donations, as a one-off gift, as the result of a fundraising event, or as a regular monthly donation. No amount is too small: £5 will help us answer a helpline call. £10 will buy the coffee & biscuits for one of our drop-ins. £40 will help us provide a counselling session. £100 will help us to train our volunteers.
As a sector LGBT charities are significantly underfunded. Despite LGBT people making up at least 2.5% of the population (at even the most conservative estimates) our sector receives just 0.04% of the total funding to voluntary sector organisations – just 4 pence in every £100. A recent report from the TUC suggests that this tiny under-investment may be under even greater threat as funders see cutting diversity as easy savings, mainstreaming this work into generic services.
A recent review of income in the LGBT sector found that LGBT charities were more reliant on precarious public sector grants, which account for almost two thirds of sector income, as opposed to just a third of the voluntary sector as a whole. With further squeezes on spending this places specialist services at risk. The same review found that LGBT charities receive less in individual giving than charities as a whole, just 21% of our income versus 42% in the wider sector. This is why individual giving and initiatives like Giving Tuesday are so important to us.
Losing funding or the support of volunteers would lose the quality that specialist LGBT organisations bring. Our service users routinely tell us they value specialist support as this makes them feel safe, welcome, and understood. It’s important that the value of specialist diversity organisations is not lost, and through Giving Tuesday we can highlight the importance of supporting this essential work.
You can make a regular or one-off donation to support London Friend’s work here. You can donate your time as a volunteer – find out more about volunteering with us here. You can find out more about fundraising for us by holding your own event or sponsored activity here.