Thursday, January 31, 2008

Karuna's success with new fundraising initiatives

The FWBO’s Karuna Trust has teamed up with Global Giving, at, a US-based website which describes itself as an ‘eBay for international development’, and is in fact run by the former ‘eBay for Charity’ chief Sharath Jeevan.

Visitors to the site can choose to donate to a list of grassroots projects, some run by local NGOs and some by larger development charities: Karuna have already raised US $7,000 from the scheme for two projects. A UK-based Global Giving website will be launching in Spring 2008.

One of Karuna’s Global Giving projects is helping Dalit 'low-caste' village women combat exploitation; a second aims focuses upon stopping Child-Labour in workhouses where the children are forced to make cheap 'bidis' (the local word for cigarettes). Both provide direct assistance to Karuna’s main partner community in India, the Dalits. Click either link for more information or to donate.

One of the features of the Globalgiving approach is that it enables supporters to direct money to a specific project that they can then follow, as donors get emailed updates on the project at regular intervals.

Globalgiving is part of a wider strategy at Karuna of broadening out their search for funds; over the past five years they have rapidly expanded the number of partner organisations in India (see previous FWBO News report on the 2007 Karuna partners conference in India) while at the same time, it has been harder to find volunteers for door-to-door fundraising even as that approach has itself become increasingly competitive in the UK. This has put Karuna’s finances under some strain, especially as most fundraising these days brings in what is known as ‘restricted income’, ie income that can only be used for one specific project.

Karuna were therefore delighted with their recent ‘upgrade mailout’, an appeal to most of their 5,000 regular donors in the UK to consider increasing their regular donations; this resulted in no less than UK £35,000/year additional income, almost all of which will be used to benefit TBMSG projects in India – these have traditionally been funded from Karuna’s door-knocking appeals ie ‘unrestricted income’.

Many of the TBMSG Trusts in India are currently shifting onto ‘project-based financing’, which will open the doors for them to raise funds in many more arenas – we hope to bring more news of this soon.

Karuna still have some vacancies for their appeals in 2008, please check the Karuna Appeals website or their Appeals blog for some first-hand accounts by volunteers on past appeals. They offer a generous support package and full training. You can also contact them direct on +44(0)207 700 3434 or email the Karuna Appeals Team for more information

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