Have charitable organisations in Russia become a national project?
The forum YEES (Your Education Enables Success) began with a discussion on charities. The organisers publicised the event as a new platform for intellectuals, entrepreneurs and the arts world. The first discussion “Technology in Charity” brought together NGO representatives, scientists and companies that are implementing corporate social responsibility programmes. Besides the dozens of people in the audience, there were also about 400 people watching the discussion online with the help of translation. All those present were not only participants in the forum but also donors, since part of each participant’s registration fee will be donated to the foundation “Who, if not me?” According to Nataliya Kaminarskaya, the Executive Secretary of the Donors’ Forum, in the last two or three years there has been a rise in the number of people doing voluntary work. In addition, there has been an increase in the number of companies developing corporate charity programmes.
Aleksei Germanovich, Government and Public Projects Director at the Moscow School of Management, said that de facto charities in Russia had become a national project. He noted that the authorities were showing an interest in the work of NGOs and formulating laws that will improve their situation. In particular, “an endowment law quickly came into force” and companies had been “competing” for endowments. Tax incentives were being developed for individuals who regularly donate to charities. According to Ilya Serov, representing the company Lebedyansky, only persistence and faith in success will help the development of charities. He also added that we should work towards promoting “a positive image of charities”. Olga Reiman, President of the foundation “Who, if not me?” agrees. She believes that in addition to fundraising, charities must regularly inform the public about their activities. The availability of funds is important in the development of charities. According to Vladimir Lopatin, head of the company Qiwi, 90% of Russians are willing to give money to charity provided it does not take much time and effort. Qiwi provides this opportunity – today its network of one hundred instant payment terminals covers all of Russia. Lopatin has observed that since 2008, the partnership with “Who, if not me?” regularly raises money for seventeen NGOs.
Translated by Lina Numan.