CALM AFRICA DONATION POLICY
After working with volunteers both local and foreign, CALM Africa acquired practical experience in light of donations given to the charity. Donations must be handled very carefully by both the giver and receiver/recipient in order to benefit the people it is intended to. There are a number of ways in which volunteers can contribute to the work that is being done by CALM in the area. You may at times feel that you want to give money there and then. Of course you can do this but in many cases this is not the best way that your money (if you choose to donate any) can be used. Giving must not undermine human dignity, but empower and enhance the capacity of CALM Africa as well as her clients. CALM Africa has a legal and moral mandate to professionally support vulnerable children and families. It is therefore of a strategic importance for volunteers to first understand the dynamics of the organisation, follow the policy guidelines herein stipulated and cooperate with CALM Africa to the benefit of CALM beneficiaries/clients.
- Source of Donations or Funding
It is important to note that CALM Africa accepts funding from any donor and whether monetary or in kind, provided that acceptance:
- Does not impair CALM’s independence to pursue its mission.
- Does not endanger its integrity and reputation.
- Helps to ensure that project-related funding does not result in undue influence over CALM's programme work. If there is a significant risk that receiving funds from a particular source would impair CALM's independence or if there is a significant risk to CALM's reputation from public association with the donor, then funding from that source must not be accepted.
- CALM can receive funding from corporations and donors from the private sector. This does not imply any endorsement of a donating company's policies or record.
- It is the responsibility of the staff and Boards of Directors of CALM to ensure that CALM's independence and reputation are not jeopardised.
CALM does not rely on any funding from government grants. Our support comes entirely from private individuals, associations, foundations, and businesses who entrust us with resources so that we can fulfill our humanitarian mission. All funds we have received for specific activities have been devoted entirely to those events. We have absorbed all administrative costs to honor the intent of most donors who restricted their contributions while ensuring that vulnerable families receive the fullest measure of assistance possible. This has left us with a challenge - to cover the costs of our already lean general operations.
By clarifying that we may use your contribution wherever most needed, you allow us to strengthen the long-term systems that are vital to vulnerable people in Africa and respond to emergencies that do not receive widespread attention. We commit to spend your money in the most productive, efficient way possible.
Of course, if you wish to restrict the use of your donation only for a specific purpose or area, we will honor that wish or inform you that we cannot and offer to return your contribution. We have not and will not collect money for what may appear to be a specific incident or purpose with the intention of using it for other purposes. The following is a guide and a policy for volunteers to follow if they want to support CALM AFRICA activities in financial terms.
3.1. Small Purchases for Schools/Vocational Skills Centre
Small purchases for the schools and vocational skills centres such as; pens, pencils, paper, printing cartridges, paint, play equipment, sports or music equipment are fine. They will be gratefully received and you may want to buy this yourself when you are with one of CALM staff. CALM schools do have budgets to purchase basic equipment but of course anything extra is a bonus and helps towards keeping costs as low as they can be. Purchasing one-off items such as play, sport or music equipment, paint, print cartridges etc are all possible.
3.2. Bigger Donations for Schools/Vocational Schools
If you want to contribute to the school in purchasing computers, reference books etc it is important you either give money to CALM Accountant or you make a donation via CHILDREN FIRST UGANDA the UK based charity Reg number 1130627, with an aim of supporting CALM Africa (and gift aid the donation if you wish and specify its purpose). The money can then be used by CALM Africa to purchase these goods in bulk. This also helps prevent the effect of ‘being Wazunged’ and paying over-the-odds and thus wasting money, and/or buying faulty goods from sellers of poor quality.
You donate your money to CALM Africa and then this money is receipted. This automatically becomes CALM income, then work with a relevant department to request this money to buy items planned. Here you are free to participate and at the end of the year auditors will want to look at this as income coming from CALM partners or volunteers. To do this it would be appropriate to contact the Director or the Operations Manager to avoid the above problems. You can actually be involved the purchase of these items. The reason for this is to ensure that any donation that you make is well received and utilized in the most cost-effective way to the benefit of CALM clients and to your satisfaction. CALM has a responsibility to ensure that donations scale up her impact on the ground sustainably.
3.3 Donations to Families/Children/Young People Visited on Outreach:
Donations on OUTREACH are always difficult and full of emotional pulls and stresses that can often end up in you feeling guilty, upset, angry, and powerless. The best plan is NOT to give there and then, or to purchase yourself selective items for a family you individually felt needed help more than others. It is hard NOT to give but it is the best option. Why? The answer is not necessarily simple. However the best way that you can assist in any financial provision is two ways:
First is to give an amount of cash to the CALM Africa Accountant who will then issue an official receipt and notify the Director accordingly. It is then up to CALM Africa to spend this money according to the needs of the families that they are involvement with. You may wish to use this route in particular to give money for a child/young person or parent to access emergency health care, for example. The volunteer who donates money must insist for a receipt and is free to follow up this donation to the full benefit of CALM Africa client.
A second way is to give money once you are back in the UK via CHILDREN FIRST. Here you can make a donation (and gift aid it - where the charity can claim extra money from the UK government thus extending the amount of money that you actually contribute) to CALM AFRICA. Through this route you can email CHILDREN FIRST Uganda and say that you wish the money to be spent on a specific project or area of OUTREACH (e.g. Healthcare or education). Again CALM AFRICA can then decide the best way to spend the money.
You may ask why this is better than giving a family some money or you yourself should not go and buy a jerry can, mattress, blankets, nets, food etc.
There are many reasons for why buying stuff yourself is NOT a good idea:
- ‘Being Muzungu’ – if you go to purchase goods in the local community there can be two negative effects:
One you pay over the odds as people know that you have more money than the average Ugandan thus meaning the money you are willing to donate doesn’t provide as much support to families, children and young people as it could.
Secondly, foreign volunteers can inflate prices in local markets thus making it harder for local Ugandan’s and CALM AFRICA generally to buy goods at affordable prices.
- Buying the wrong stuff – volunteers can often find that from an outreach visit they perceive the needs via their own lens (standards of the UK) and therefore wish to purchase items that they feel the family needs which may not actually help the family in the best way that some financial assistance could. (A recent example of this was when 2 volunteers bought mattresses, jerry cans, blankets, and pots for a family of 4 – within a few days however the mother who was ill, sadly, died. The children were made homeless and the equipment lost. The money could have been better used for the children in securing accommodation. Another less dramatic example is a volunteer who bought a pan for food to be cooked in and it was too big and they couldn’t use it as the family couldn’t afford the coal to heat the food in it! )
- We may also buy equipment that is faulty or from inappropriate sellers and thus waste money as it can be difficult for us to assess good from bad quality.
- Making children more vulnerable – this might sound strange but purchasing equipment can make children and families more vulnerable to being attacked within their local community.
- Better Use of Resources – donations given to CALM AFRICA can be better utilized and directed towards priority needs rather than only the families seen by volunteers. In this way children and young people are supported in more effective ways.
- The LEGAL BIT – it is against Ugandan law to purchase items on behalf of a charity unless you are registered to do so. Only CALM AFRICA is registered and CALM staff are the only ones authorized both to purchase what is required and distribute to families. You can witness distribution of materials to families as part of your OUTREACH involvement.
3.4 Large Donations/Fundraising
From time to time CALM AFRICA may well discuss specific projects that they need large funding for. It is up to you if you decide to contribute towards these. If you chose to there are two ways of raising funds. The first is to try and do this locally in Uganda. This may be difficult and probably not achieve the desired level of fundraising sought but could be utilized to bring awareness to the local community and provide some income.
The second is again in the UK and with the support of CHILDREN FIRST. CHILDREN FIRST can then provide assistance, guidance, and support to you in the UK and funds can be channeled through them – (again using gift aid routes if appropriate). CHILDREN FIRST can then contact you in regard to how the money was used and the impact this had had.
CHILDREN FIRST can be found on the internet or you can contact Tony Bateman for further details (see the website wwwcalmafrica-ug.org).
3.5 CALM Africa Staff:
Donations must not be given to staff other than the Director or CALM Africa Accountant for proper accountability and follow up.
CALM AFRICA staff should all follow this guide and policy. That means not asking for donations that do not follow this route. Individual staff requests for money from volunteers should not occur and if they do should not be given a positive response from volunteers as it creates unfair results with some staff getting money and others not. A preferred route if you want to give staff a treat is to take them all for a meal. If staff however go out of their way to help you (e.g. take you for a weekend to their home/do your washing etc then a small thank-you is appropriate).
CALM AFRICA staff must ensure that volunteers are given information and the option to choose to contribute donations if they so choose via any of the above routes. Volunteers are here to offer their time to the project as best as they can and some will and can offer help via donations or fundraising.
3.6 Follow Up
CALM Africa encourages staff and volunteers/development partners to do a systematic follow up to donations and come up with a report. When donations are made, families are supported and CALM activities are scaled up. It is therefore important for volunteers to work with CALM staff to assess the impact of the donations and make a follow up report with appropriate recommendations. Follow up reports should always be shared with the Director and the Operations Manger to see whether donations are well utilized, make an impact and where need be scaled up to the benefit of a wider community.
CALM Africa mobilizes resources through writing proposals, appeal letters and asking volunteers and their friends to make donations. Once resources are got, CALM and her partners respond to community needs sensibly, wisely, professionally and responsibly. This is the work which drives us. Improving lives of vulnerable families is the vision that gives enduring purpose to what we do. Our organisation will never shy away from asking partners to make donations and donations which will be a blessing not a curse our communities.
Donations when well handled help CALM Africa remain relevant and to promote respect for the rights of children and young people, empower them to reach their potential and give them opportunities for democratic influence as well as protecting them against injustice and exploitation. Your donation makes a difference in the lives of disadvantaged children!! We need therefore to work together.