One charity in Offaly has signed up to the national campaign

Damian Moran

Reporter:

Damian Moran

A major public awareness campaign has been unveiled to encourage Irish people and business to commit 1% of their income, profits or time to a cause they believe in.

A major public awareness campaign has been unveiled to encourage Irish people and business to commit 1% of their income, profits or time to a cause they believe in.

With one worthy cause in Offaly already committed to the campaign, The Forum on Philanthropy and Fundraising is calling on sports and arts organisations and charities in Offaly to register and be part of the 1% Difference to create a national movement. Worthy causes can register now on http://form.onepercentdifference.ie/.

The 1% difference campaign aims to create a national shift in attitudes towards giving by encouraging giving in a more considered and sustained manner, thus promoting a culture of philanthropy. The campaign is supported by charities, sports and arts organisations and the wider not-for-profit sector and is the largest and most significant public awareness campaign of its type ever undertaken in Ireland.

To enable benefiting organisations to plan in a more considered way over the medium and long term, the campaign will aim to double current giving levels by asking the public to give 1% of income or time and business to give 1% of profits to a cause they believe in. The 1% difference is spearheaded by the Forum on Philanthropy and Fundraising and was launched in Dublin by Minister Phil Hogan TD, Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government and Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland, founder of the Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice and UN Special Envoy for African Great Lakes. The event was attended by individuals from across the not-for-profit sector and included well known Irish individuals, former Irish international, Ronan O’Gara, celebrity chef, Clodagh McKenna and author Fran O’Brien.

National advertising across radio and television, commenced and pointed the general public to a website – www.onepercentdifference.ie. The website enables users to calculate their 1% and will help people decide where it could go by matching them with a cause that will best resonate with them. Over 500 good causes are currently represented on the website, with one worthy cause in Offaly already signed up to the campaign. A number of organisations have pledged their support to 1% difference by assisting with awareness raising initiatives which will take place later in 2013.

Referring to the launch of 1% difference, Minister Phil Hogan TD said, “I am very pleased to launch this major initiative which will play a pivotal role in developing Philanthropy and Fundraising in this country and aims to increase private investment in good causes. Ireland’s not-for-profit organisations will play a defining role in national renewal and will help to build a better Ireland. The full potential of Ireland’s tradition of giving will now be realised as the culture and infrastructure of Irish philanthropy and fundraising will be transformed over the next four years.”

While Irish people are recognised globally for their generosity, current evidence from the Report on Philanthropy and Fundraising suggests that only 15% of donors in Ireland give in a regular fashion compared to 36% in the UK. As a country we also rank well below many European peers with citizens donating approximately 1% of their income annually to philanthropic causes, while the Irish figure stands at 0.8%.

Corporate giving in Ireland is low with less than 0.1% of pre-tax profits of the top 500 companies donated. In the UK, this figure is significantly higher at 1.2% or 12 times this rate.

Chairman of the Forum on Philanthropy, Frank Flannery said, “We are aiming to create a national movement of giving with this campaign. This is a critical time for giving as 85% of our philanthropic funds and activities will cease in this country over the next three years.

We believe that 1% can make a tangible contribution to local renewal and national recovery in Ireland. My message to everyone in this country is that all contributions are valid and it is not what you give that matters but what matters is that you give. I am also making an appeal to Irish business, whether indigenous or multinational to give 1% of profits. This combined approach will assist us in reaching our goal of increasing current levels of giving from €500 million to €800 million over the next three years.”

Seamus Mulconry, Executive Director of Philanthropy Ireland concluded “The concept of 1% is simple, and we hope it will encourage people to think more about how they give, and how they can make a greater contribution to their communities and the causes they care about.”

The general public are urged to calculate their 1% difference at onepercentdifference.ie