Does charity really begin at home?

August 04, 2013

Why charity impact should matter more than location

As Dogstar’s Founder and Country Director I made the decision to be individually accessible on and offline as I have always valued dialogue with donors and supporters, overall it has been a fairly positive process but as the saying goes you can’t please all of the people all of the time.

Every now and then some will tell me and I do mean tell me!  ”You should concentrate on dogs in the UK” or “why don’t you help people instead of animals” people would approach me at fundraising events and tell me in no uncertain terms why in their opinion I was not doing anything right.

I wrote this back when I started blogging in December 2007 and I still think its as relevant now as it was then.

“ Giving money to charity is a personal thing and I don’t think anyone should ever be “guilt-tripped” into it I do believe a lot of the excellent human charities should not even need to ask for public funding as governments should already be funding those services.

I have had people ask me why we help animals in Sri Lanka and not people and my answers are along these lines I don’t have any background or knowledge that would enable me to run a people-based org but all our employed staff are Sri Lankan and the products we buy for fundraising comes directly from Sri Lankan owned and run business who we trade fairly with. Dogstar’s vaccination/sterilization program and proposed education programs are aimed at directly reducing the number of dog bites and the reduction of Rabies. In Sri Lanka Dogs are the natural reservoir for Rabies and people are dying every year because they are bitten and don’t seek medical help, yes we are primarily an animal-based organization but our work does impact on the human population (and rightly so) we care about all animals (no matter how many legs they have) lastly I normally ask them what charities, projects, organizations they actively support and have found that to a man (or woman) they are not involved with any Charity (just don’t agree that I or anyone else should spend their own money on overseas dogs).

The programs I talked about in 2007 are now a reality and delivering real results, our children’s education program is now in its 2nd year and we are already working on expanding the age range we can cover. Last year our spay/neuter/vaccination program sterilized over 1000 animals and we are on target to exceed that that this year.

The difference in attitudes regards animal welfare in our outreach areas is immense leading to real and sustainable improvement for animal health and well-being, which is after all the whole point of our work.

So rather than saying “Charity should begin at home” shouldn’t we be saying Charities should be tackling issues at the root causes, running ethical, cost-effective programs and delivering sustainable and measurable results and holding them to account for that instead, no matter where the project is based?