I don’t know about you but I am quite done getting my heart broken every morning, for the best part of the last year. Getting up, sipping coffee on the couch while browsing through the news is supposed to be a relaxing start to my day, like it always was, but lately it has just been a frustrating, overwhelming, even upsetting moment. Every, single, day, I read about some new crap happening somewhere. I need something positive and beautiful in my life, as I am sure you do too. Luckily, I found one (besides my boyfriend, I mean)! I just want to share it with you, to hopefully put a smile on your face, like it has put many on mine.
Local Charities Worldwide launched online
On Saturday 23 January 2021, the Local Charities Worldwide platform went live. It was a very emotional moment for me, as I had been working very hard on the project for several months. My whole heart, sweat and tears went into this. The platform aims to tell the stories of small local charities working wonders everywhere in the world, and to use the power of the internet to bring them much needed exposure and support from donors.
It all started during the spring lockdown of 2020. Patricia Vermeer, a born and bred Haarlemmer and a very sweet and kind soul, came across an article about Sherpas, the mountain guides in Nepal, who were suffering tragic losses of income due to the COVID-19-related travel bans and the consequent lack of tourists. That article made her want to send the Sherpas some money, to help them provide for their families. She looked and looked and looked but couldn’t find any place to donate online where she could be sure that her donation would indeed go the Sherpas, and quickly. That was a very saddening experience for Patricia – but then, an exciting idea emerged in her mind: a website, shared on a worldwide scale, reliably connecting small charities on the ground and people willing to help them.
A global platform for local giving.
She didn’t know how to make it happen on her own, so she searched for skilled people to join her team. She found Patricia (yes, another one), a Spanish expat and human rights specialist with many friends in the NGO sector. A little later, she found me, a digital communication professional, creative UX Designer and passionate writer. Together, the three of us planned and worked to make Patricia’s vision a reality. I created our brand, logo, designs, storyline and website, and produced all texts, official documents and charity vetting policies to give the project a truly serious and professional frame. I wanted a map and search functionality on the platform too, but this goes beyond my tech skills, so we found Manuel, a young Dutch developer, who is helping us implement that part. On their side, the two Patricias set out on a mission to reach out to the local charities they knew and offer them our services. They also officially registered Local Charities Worldwide as a foundation and began running our social media pages. It was a busy few months indeed, but it was worth it!
Many local charities have the actual lives of people or animals in their hands daily but because of COVID, they don’t receive volunteers nor volunteer donations anymore, which they heavily rely on in normal times. This means that the problems they are trying to solve are getting worse. The world needs to hear their cry for help.
Our concept is very simple.
First, we select local charities, from anywhere in the world, that get close to no governmental help, and that really, desperately, urgently need support to survive. Note, we have high standards and a strict registration criteria list, to make sure that the charities we choose to work with are legitimate and trustworthy. The last thing we want is to be promoting scams. We gather evidence about a charity’s legal status, the traceability of donations, etc. We also conduct online calls to meet the people behind the charities in person, for a more personal touch.
Then, we write engaging content about the charities’ amazing work, the causes they serve and why they need support. For a more visual and cleaner user experience, we arrange the charities into our four charity pillars – Environment, People, Animals and Social Enterprises.
What can you do?
If you are reading this and want to get involved, here are four simple steps that you can take today:
1. Visit the platform: Head to localcharitiesworldwide.org and explore a world of giving with our charity map.
2. Discover the charities: Take a look at the charities’ profiles, learn more about their missions and connect to their moving stories.
3. Support the charities: Give in any way you can to your favourite charity – a donation, your time or your attention (if you are a journalist, an influencer, etc.).
Thank you for them, and much love,
Many local charities have the actual lives of people or animals in their hands daily – the world needs to hear their cry for help.