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Hawthornscat's Blog

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A Really Good Charity Website?

This is my first blog for a little while, because I have been pretty tied up with plans for a future career change. Most important amongst these plans was buying a house in France. Not the best of times to make such a move, with the economic downturn and the strength of the Euro, but we are not always masters of our own destiny!

I had intended to write something on Free Tibet, but I have probably missed that boat for the time being. However, the Olympics are only a few months away, so I might return to the topic then. I am not sure if it is my imagination, but I seem to have received fewer charity request in the post over the last few months than previously. Sadly, there has been the usual steady flow of unsolicited ‘free gifts’, and Help the Aged sent me a questionnaire, which as I have in previous blogs is a particular turn off. One communication that is always welcome, however, was from the Salvation Army including a copy of their newsletter ‘Belief in Action’. 

I am aware that some people feel uneasy about giving to charities such as the Salvation Army because of their overtly Christian message and their associated stance on certain moral issues. My own interest in their work started because they were a favourite charity of my mother’s; moreover, the work of the Salvation Army with the homeless, reuniting families and supporting Service families are all things that resonate with me. I have no particularly strong religious views, but it is hard to escape the fact that a great deal of charitable activity is driven by religious motives. The world would be a poorer place without the charitable efforts of many of these organisations, so I long ago decided that I was happy to give and let the charity sort out the fine details of exactly how the money got to those who needed it.

The Belief in Action Newsletter is the kind of charity communication that I like. Clear, interesting and sharply focused on the work that the Salvation Army is doing, including a few topical articles. There is also a statement of the kind of help that a specific donation can provide, starting with the relatively modest sum of £9. The website is certainly worth a visit, not just to find out more about articles in the newsletter, but also because of the discussion area. Of the current topics, the ones on wearing of uniform in public, integrity and moral decline are of particular interest to me – you might even feel motivated to contribute. The UK version is a good website, but the Canadian version is even better. It definitely wins on layout, is less openly religious in its tone, and provides an exceptional insight in to the work of the charity. Any charity looking for a model for their own website could do a lot worse than look there first.


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