We are asking for people to raise money for us by being sponsored to do a 26-mile walk; the Birmingham Canal Canter. Therefore, it’s fair enough for people to ask us what we’ll do with the money that they raise for us.
The biggest expense for the campaigns group is the salary of the Campaigns Support Worker, which is a role unique amongst Friends of the Earth groups in the UK as they work exclusively for our group. As a result of our fundraising over the past few years we’ve been able to raise the salary for that role from minimum wage level to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s Minimum Income Standard .
Having someone working for us during the week ensures that there is someone available to attend council meetings, respond to media requests, engage with businesses, go out to do talks at schools, recruit and supervise volunteers, line manage staff on back-to-work schemes such as the Future Jobs Fund and provide general support to the group.
As an environmental group, we try to keep the use of paper to a minimum, but there are occasions when we need to print informational or campaigns materials to assist in raising awareness or asking for changes, so the more professional these look, the more expensive they are to have done.
If people give up their time for free to do things for us, it’s only fair that they won’t be out of pocket, so we pay travel and meal expenses for the time they’re volunteering. As we expand our capacity to work, we get more volunteers, which is as we’d like it, but that also has additional costs. People gain important skills and confidence from volunteering at Birmingham Friends of the Earth, as well as us getting extra work done.
In order to speak to more people, we also organise events and for anything requiring space for more than 15-20 people, that also requires booking rooms. Having more money available would mean we would have the confidence to put on bigger and better events, with more promotion and a wider audience.
At the moment, unlike most larger organisations who spend nearly 10% of their income on it, we don’t actually spend money on fundraising. All of this valuable activity is done through the work of volunteers, so what you raise for us goes directly to helping our organisation, not to external charity fundraisers.
We are a small organisation, but the work we do affects the lives of a lot of people, so any money you raise for us is really appreciated. If you can walk 26 miles on Saturday 18th September and let people know why you’re doing it, you’ll have a fun day exploring the canals, do your health some good in training for it and also make a real difference to us. Anyone who raises over £100 in sponsorship for Birmingham Friends of the Earth will have their entrance fee refunded to say thank you.