Pay It Forward For A Jolly Good Cause

A social enterprise from Shropshire is launching a ‘Pay It Forward’ scheme in celebration of their second anniversary, so they can provide their services to even more small charities free of charge.

Community interest company Jolly Good Causes (JGC) is launching their scheme inviting businesses and larger organisations to sponsor a service so small charities and other community interest companies can use them for free.

The Pay It Forward movement has a long history, but received more widespread recognition with Catherine Ryan Hyde’s 1999 book of the same name, which was later made into a film starring Helen Hunt and Kevin Spacey. Hyde also set up the Pay It Forward Foundation in the US in 2000, to champion and promote the initiative and encourage more people to take part and spread the good will – something that JGC are hoping to continue with their own scheme.

Over four in ten of the 180,000 registered charities in England and Wales have an income of £10,000 or less per year, with smaller charities representing 84% of registered charities but accounting for less than five per cent of the income recorded. Publicity and good campaign materials can help boost fundraising efforts and gain a charity new supporters – giving a far greater return than the money invested. However, the cost of paying for this service is often still too great for small charities to afford.

Jo Barr, founder of JGC and who lives in Llanfechain but works from a shared office in Willow Street, Oswestry, explains: “Smaller charities are responsible for a huge amount of incredible work. But we know from experience it can be difficult for them to reach new audiences, as often hiring staff or paying for an agency is beyond their means.”

“I created JGC two years ago to help address this issue, and we already help as many charities as we can for free, but the reality is there are so many causes in need of support and we don’t have the financial capacity to help them all for free, as like any business we have bills to pay.”

Among the charities they have helped over the past two years includes a branch of the RSPCA. Talking about the work they completed for the charity an RSPCA spokesperson said: “An entire front page on the local newspaper, two interviews with BBC local radio and four slots on local TV news.  Without help from JGC none of this would have happened.  It shows the importance of having the right people in place and letting them do their job.”

Jo’s business partner Richard James came up with their Pay It Forward scheme as a way to help more charities for free. The model is a simple one: they are asking individuals, businesses and larger charities to cover the cost of one of their stand alone services, ranging in price from £120 to £740. Once purchased, the service will be listed on their ‘notice board’ page on their website, along with the sponsor’s logo. If the sponsor amount exceeds £300, JGC will also put out a press release on their behalf to let their local community know all about it. The service will remain available until it is redeemed by a qualifying charity (those with an income of less than £100,000 per year).

Richard said: “Larger organisations can give something back, knowing exactly where their money will be spent, and small charities benefit from the huge boost publicity can give to their profile and fundraising, so hopefully they will one day be able to ‘pay it forward’ and sponsor a service for someone else.”