There are move than 110 organizations in the London lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer (LGBTQ) voluntary and community sector. And they do an incredible range of things, from organizing arts events, to providing counselling services, to running archives.
But these inspiring efforts really need a boost – from individuals like you.
Donations given by individual people to LGBTQ organizations in the UK capital are half that given to mainstream organizations. If gay, bi and trans people in London gave to LGBTQ causes what we assume they give to charity generally, the groups we surveyed ought to be earning between £3million ($5million â‚¬3.5million) and £11million ($17million â‚¬11million) in donations alone, compared with the less than £1million ($1.5million â‚¬1million) they do currently.
While it’s important the government supports equalities work as much (if not more) as it supports anything else, donations from real people allow charities and community organisations much more creativity and flexibility in the activities they provide with the money.
This flexibility would allow the sector to better respond to the community’s changing needs and aspirations.
And, an increase in people donating would strengthen relationships between LGBTQ community organizations and community members. That’s because donors receive benefits like newsletters, updates and invitations to events.
So, LGBTQ people donate to lots of causes, but why don’t more of us donate to LGBTQ causes?
There is very little research about this and so we are working with other LGBTQ groups and running a survey to better understand the relationship between identity and giving. You can help by doing the short survey here.
There is a certain general lack of empathy for the queer experience, which is one reason LGBTQ organizations come up against barriers whilst fundraising. Lots of charity fundraising relies on disturbing images of ‘victims’. Not all LGBTQ organizations want to portray the community in that way and many people find it challenging to hear the difficult stories in any case.
Many LGBTQ organizations thrive without any need or desire for funding. For those organizations that do try to raise funds, the large majority are entirely volunteer run, and do not have the resources to spend on publicity to attract donations. To put it in perspective, the money the organizations we surveyed spend on all of their charitable activities is equal to just one fifth of the money spent solely on fundraising by one of the UK’s largest charities.
The money in the LGBTQ sector is also very unevenly distributed. Organizations that work on the combination of LGBTQ issues and other equality issues, like race or disability, earn just 6% of the income of the sector as a whole.
And there is a cycle where some have enough money for the publicity to attract donations, and so their donations grow. Meanwhile those that don’t have that money in the first place stays low. This may be a clear indication that the LGBTQ community would readily give more if the diversity of work had a higher profile.
Ajamu and Centred CEO Jane Standing walked from London to Huddersfield (235 miles). Ajamu was raising funds for his ground breaking exhibition ‘Fierce’, celebrating young black LGBTQ talent, which opens at the Guildhall Art Gallery with a free late show on Friday (1 February). And Centred was raising funds for British Sign Language interpretation and inclusive accessible events.
This fundraiser launched a long-term project called One Amazing Act, which aims to revolutionize the community’s relationship to donating to diverse LGBTQ causes. People will carry out ‘amazing acts’ to fundraise for inspirational organizations, community groups and artists. Connections between community groups and community members will deepen as a result.
We will be releasing more information about One Amazing Act later this year.
Centred is currently developing plans with other activists and organizations for the next phase of this project.
The LGBT Almanac provides lots of information about all of the organizations that people can donate to in the publication itself and in the online wiki. If you see an organization whose work you are interested in supporting, contact them directly or get in touch with us for more information at [email protected] or +44 (0)20 7437 6063.
More information about Centred is here. And if you are in the UK and want to donate £10 now simply text LGBT 45 £10 to the number 70070.