Importance of giving locally: An interview with Kate

By Frank Page

Interview with Kate Markey

The importance of giving locally and how The London Community Foundation can help

The COVID-19 pandemic has only emphasised the importance of community groups and local charities in responding to the urgent needs of their clients (beneficiaries). The financial impact on individuals and businesses has been well documented, but charities have been equally affected by the crisis.

Throughout the past 18 months, charities have experienced significant pressure on their income, all while adapting their services to be compliant with the COVID restrictions. In the UK, 60% of charities surveyed in a recent poll said that introducing new safety measures had increased their operating costs.

Charities working on the ground in communities have a deep understanding of the challenges facing at-risk groups and are best placed to alleviate those problems. We spoke to Kate Markey, CEO of The London Community Foundation (LCF), about why giving locally is so important and the ways in which LCF can help donors connect to the charities on their doorstep.

Why is giving locally so important?

Unfortunately, the pandemic has only highlighted the existing challenges facing London. The capital has the widest gap between rich and poor in the country and while we know that money often goes further outside of London and the UK, especially when meeting basic needs like shelter, it is still important to address issues closer to home.

Giving locally is a great way for donors to feel connected to the charities they support. Spending time enriching your community and connecting with people who are dedicated to bettering London is a fantastic way to gain a broader perspective. Donors choose to give locally for various reasons, whether it is tackling inequality, because of personal experience or to have a more in-depth relationship with the charity or community group. At LCF, we are proud to connect donors with great local charities.

For donors, giving locally is a great way to feel connected to the charities they support. Spending time enriching your community and connecting with people who are dedicated to bettering London is a fantastic way to gain a broader perspective.

How does LCF facilitate giving in London?

We know that for many donors, starting their giving journey is often the hardest thing to do. Finding your own way in the London charity sector is very difficult. Local charities make up a large proportion of the sector and the majority of them operate with an annual income of less than £100,000. LCF helps donors decide on the cause areas that are most important to them, find the most impactful charities and give in a simple, straightforward manner.

We have a range of solutions specifically designed to cater to the needs of individual and corporate donors. Our donor-advised funds are a flexible and efficient way to structure your giving. As a fund holder, donors can expect that LCF will work with them to design the fund, undertake all the necessary due diligence and assessments, and manage the grant making process from start to finish. We have a great team at LCF who are also able to articulate the impact of our donor’s giving programmes to show the tangible difference that they achieve.

How is LCF responding to the immediate issues facing London and how can donors be a part of this journey?

Young people have been hit hard by the pandemic, they are facing worsening job prospects, fewer opportunities and are struggling with their mental health. We have seen numerous reports of increases in suicidal thoughts, self-harm, eating disorders and feelings of isolation. According to the Children’s Commissioner for England, a staggering 1 in 6 children now have a probable mental health condition. For young people living in relative poverty, these problems are only exacerbated.

To respond to these challenges, we launched a new initiative called the LCF Youth Futures fund. The fund will support charities and community groups dealing with the issues facing young Londoners.

For donors, the initiative is an amazing way to maximise your impact by pooling funds with other donors. There will also be opportunities for donors to connect with the charities that they have supported through the fund. We are currently fundraising for the initiative so if you would like to hear more about the Youth Futures Fund, you can do so here.