Volunteering and philanthropy in Ukraine

Volunteers: Residents of the western regions of Ukraine and liberated territories of Donbass are the leaders among benefactors of the country

 Kyiv, December 9, 2015. Over the past three years the number of people involved in charitable activities has increased by only 3 percent: from 10 up to 13 percent. However, what is more important, the amount of such aid has doubled. The number of people who make charitable cash contributions also has increased. Now it comprises 41 percent of the population. The leaders among the regions of Ukraine are the western regions and liberated areas of Donbas. Western regions direct the main scope of assistance to the needs of the army; residents of the east – to internally displaced persons and to those affected by hostilities. Altogether Ukrainian people transferred money to the army (65 percent), for the needs of people with disabilities (20 percent), for the needs of internally displaced persons and development of religious area (12 percent). These data were presented by Iryna Bekeshkina, Director of Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Fund at a briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. “Charity and volunteering are the main ways enabling ordinary citizens to affect the situation in the country and to feel involved in the changes that are taking place,” she said. However, according to Ms. Bekeshkina, the focus of charity has shifted due to hostilities in the east. To a lesser degree charity support is provided for such areas as protection of the environment and animals, sport and education.

Among the charity activity the tools randing first are charity boxes (63 percent of dontations), slightly less popular are “hand-to-hand” donations (30 percent), next is charity donations by credit cards (12 percent) and via Internet (5 percent).

Now there is a new trend in charity – the strategic philanthropy. Co-founder of Social Innovation Platform “Biggggidea” Iryna Solovei says: “we are trying to move away from using the words “donation” and “contribution.” We popularize support of projects that can make changes and promote development.” She also explained that people who donate through the charity boxes are usually guided by sympathy for problems of others. While the Internet users mostly support projects aimed at development (publishing, technological projects, urban development). Now benefactors incline to influence social processes. This, in its turn, is important for the process of society democratization. “It is important to realize that changes can be made not only by business and the state, but also by any citizen,” emphasized Iryna Solovei.

Iryna Hutsal, director of Ukrainian Philanthropic Marketplace, informed that in this regard it is very important to communicate the changes that can be made by existing and potential benefactors, and to give them to understand what impact they can have on a particular civic affair. “We have a lot of expectations for next year. We hope that this message of support and willingness to be involved in changing the country will remain. And charity will become the norm and culture for each of us,” she said.

Anna Gulevska-Chernysh, director of Ukrainian Philanthropists Forum, also shaerd her expectations for the next year. She said that the adoption of amendments to the tax code is critical. They will make it possible to exempt charitable SMS messages from taxation, to expand the scope and categories of charitable assistance, and to adopt the law on charitable assistance in crisis situations.


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