As members of Lions Clubs International we are very proud of the claim that ‘Every cent we collect goes to help a good cause’. The funds we raise, whether in street collections; coffee mornings, quiz nights
–every cent goes to the good causes that we support. These good causes are local - assisting in meeting special needs, providing food hampers, newspaper for the blind etc. Lions clubs also support national causes –supporting the Lions Centenary Guide Dogs initiative, supporting senior citizens for a week in Trabolgan or enabling carers to participate in a Carers Weekend.
We also support international projects –recent examples include emergency support for Nepal, financial support for the construction of Safe Centre in Lebanon for refugee children from Syria and participating in the measles eradication programme. Not one cent of the funds we raise as Lions is spent on administration.
The reason that we can make this claim is because we all pay a Lions membership fee to meet all the administration costs of our organisation locally, nationally and internationally. This is an important fact that we must communicate in the context that many of the public have become disenchanted with the charity sector as a consequence of the some of the scandals involving a small number of charities.
In recent weeks there has been press coverage of a survey of the charity sector undertaken by Amarch Research. This survey shows that there remains a question over the level of trust in Irish charities. The lack of trust is due to the malpractice in some charities that was brought to light in the last two years. The research found that the level of anger a number of years ago as a result of the malpractice is giving way to a more pragmatic recognition that charities have an important job to do.
Often as Lions, we anticipate push back when we explain to prospective new members to our club the fact that it is necessary to pay a membership fee to become a Lion. In fact this is a huge positive to Lions Clubs as it enables us to stand apart from other service organisations and charities where a significant proportion of total income is spent on administration including fundraising.
Thus, whether we are appealing for funds to support for the wide range of work we undertake or we are seeking to attract new members we must always communicate the message –‘Every cent that is raised by Lions club goes directly to good causes’. This is particularly important to remember over the coming weekend when many Lions clubs will be carrying out a bucket collection at Tesco Stores in the 26 Counties.
This appeal at Tesco provides Lions with the opportunity to raise much needed funds and also communicate with the public the work we undertake as Lions. We must also be aware that high profile fundraising by Lions is a wonderful opportunity to attract volunteers and potential members.
I wish every club great success this weekend with fundraising ;