Posted on October 18th, 2016 at 6:34PM
This week I had the opportunity to share with delegates at the Association of Charitable Organisations Autumn Summit about the Acts 435 model. Over seven years ago our founder saw the potential in the donor fatigue in giving to charity, the ready-made branch network of churches, and the fact that when people are in poverty a small gift can make a big difference in moments of crisis.
Donors want to know their money counts. Acts 435 provides person to person giving in the most direct way possible whilst ensuring donor anonymity and beneficiary confidentiality. If John in Liverpool needs £80 for a cooker, Karen in Hove can choose to give that full £80 (or part of it) and know that 100% of her donation will go to John and his cooker (via the church that posted the request). Acts 435 even pays the credit card charges associated with Karen's donation. What's more, the church advocate can send a thank you to the donors who gave the funds for John's cooker. Karen receives an email which explains how delighted John is with a cooker and what a difference it has made.
This is true direct giving. For those only able to give a little, they want to know that their £5 will have an impact. With Acts 435 it does.
Yet what makes Acts 435 even more distinctive is the model that it can become fully self-sustaining thanks to Gift Aid claimed on eligible donations. If Karen is a tax-payer and gives £80 for John's cooker, the £80 goes to John, but we can then claim £20 in Gift Aid which goes to cover our admin costs.
I am not aware of any other charity that is fully self-sustaining in this way. As we grow, our administrative function should not need to grow into some large Head Office - as the graph below shows we are very nearly at that magical 100% of admin costs being covered by Gift Aid. In fact, we have not needed to request any external donation from our private sponsor who funded the set-up of Acts 435 since November 2015.
I am thankful for the vision and commitment that brought Acts 435 into being and has proven that the model can work. Now I hope to see the message spread faster, more churches and local charities to get on board, and many more people supported in the midst of their financial difficulties whilst facilitating direct giving for so many who want to help but want to know where their money is really going.