News from across the sector as lockdown re-emerges
Scots Catholic charity honoured by stamps
A Catholic charity started in Glasgow has been honoured with a specially commissioned set of stamps from the Vatican to celebrate its 100th anniversary. The Apostolate of the Sea or as it is widely known Stella Maris, is the pastoral ministry of the Catholic Church for seafarers, fishers and their families. And it was on October 4, 1920, when in Glasgow a group of people decided to unify in a single work the assistance to seafarers carried out by various ecclesial organizations. The Apostleship of the Sea ran large seafarers’ hostels in all the major port towns where seafarers could stay while their ships were in port, often for weeks at a time - with hundreds of volunteers from the local parishes involved in providing hospitality and entertainment for seafarers. 100 years later, Stella Maris is the largest ship visiting network in the world, with centres located in over 300 ports in 55 countries, offering hundreds of seafarers and fishers 'a home away from home' every day far from their countries of origin. The stamps, which were issued on September 10, depict the traditional iconography the Stella Maris and reproduce three sailors on a boat in fear for the sudden storm, as they invoke the Virgin Mary. The design is completed by the logo of the Stella Maris, consisting of an anchor intertwined with a life preserver with the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the centre. Unfortunately, they are only available from the Vatican Post Office in the Vatican City.
Charity slams offensive merchandise
A leading Scots charity has said a range of anti-Down's syndrome t-shirts that were sold on Amazon is "tantamount to hate crime". Shirts resurfaced on Amazon's website last week, featuring slogans including "Let's make Down's syndrome extinct" and "F*** Down's syndrome". Similar garments appeared on the site back in March, but were removed by bosses. Thousands signed an online petition over the weekend after the clothing items reappeared, with many saying the offensive shirts promote hate speech against people with Down's syndrome. Amazon have confirmed the shirts have again been removed from their site, and say sellers must follow their guidelines or risk action being taken. But Down's Syndrome Scotland, the country's only charity specific for people with the condition, has now backed calls for the online retailer to take a stand against the items. The charity's chief executive, Eddie McConnell, said that they need assurances that it will not happen again. He said: “These t-shirts are abhorrent and tantamount to hate crime. It would appear that this is not an isolated incident and it is vital that Amazon act quickly to fix this problem on its site and provide assurance that this will not happen again.”
Be vigilant of Postcode Lottery scam
Scots are being warned of a nationwide scam in which people are being told they have won a share of £425,000 posing as a popular Scottish charitable 'postcode lottery'. Letters delivered to residents say they are from the 'People's Postcode Lottery' which was launched in Scotland eight years ago. While the genuine lottery is based in Edinburgh, the circulating letter reveals a head office address in London. The real People's Postcode Lottery, which has raised hundreds of millions of pounds for good causes, dishes out thousands of pounds worth of prizes to lucky winners across the country. Its celebrity ambassadors include David Attenborough, Brian Blessed and Judi Dench. But recipients to the bogus version are told that a processing fee is required to release the winnings, something which legitimate lotteries would never do. Letters are known to have been delivered across the Highland area but it is feared they have been delivered further afield.
Digital donations here to stay
A new report by fundraising charity National Funding Scheme, reveals that digital, text and other mobile fundraising methods have grown significantly due to lockdown and that this growth is here to stay. An overwhelming majority of 83% of the charities who use the Donate platform say that their fundraising strategy has changed. Of all the fundraising channels, it was events that saw the most significant changes with income from these down more than 50% according to over half of the charities surveyed. The other areas of note were retail with a quarter of charities noting a drop of over 50% in this channel and text giving increasing by more than half according to 23%. Just under half (44%) of charities say their levels of fundraising income were down by up to 50% January- June 2020 on the previous year, understandable given the significant changes to fundraising methods. However a third of charities that were able to adapt to digital platforms, including text-giving, contactless, online auctions and text-raffles reported that they had contingency plans in place and had found it straight-forward adjusting to the new world order. Support from corporates stayed the same for a quarter of the charities polled, as with support from local government. Fewer people than expected cancelled direct debits with a quarter reporting that income remained stable from this source, similarly with legacies. Text giving has emerged as a new and important channel for over half of charities (52%). This is positive news for those charities looking to find more cost effective and easy ways to set up routes to individual fundraising. Almost all of the respondents said that they believe digital fundraising will grow faster than trend because of lockdown and the impact it has had on fundraising. A mere 6% thought that digital giving would return to pre-lockdown levels when things return to normal.