Over the past few weeks we have been having conversations with Mutual Aid groups up and down the country about the work they are doing, and crucially, been prevented from doing, as a result of resources which are starting to run dry.
Issues which have come up repeatedly are:
- Volunteers having to pay out of their own personal bank accounts for items
- Group funds dwindling, despite there being offers from within the local community to support
- Councils not being able to pledge funds to Mutual Aid groups because they are unconstituted
- Potential funders such as councils needing to see a plan in place for how funds will be distributed
What can Mutual Aid groups do to overcome these issues
Mutual Aid groups can work with a trusted constituted organisation (likely a local charity, Community Interest Company, Community and Voluntary Service etc) which can be set up to receive funds raised through crowdfunding – an arrangement known as ‘fiscal hosting’.
The Mutual Aid group can create a crowdfunding page on Spacehive and invite the trusted organisation to become an External Project Delivery Manager (visit our Help Centre to learn more about the role of the Project Delivery Manager). All of this passes through Spacehive’s verification process which makes a quick check on the Host organisation to ensure that they will responsibly handle the funds raised through crowdfunding.
The Group can then crowdfund what they need to provide aid for a defined period of time, ideally broken down into what one individual might require as ‘emergency support’ eg. £25 pp for deliveroo/shopping/prescription/emergency repairs. Mutual Aid groups can ‘rinse and repeat’ with subsequent small-scale crowdfunding campaigns with this agreement with the External Project Delivery Manager in place; and can also generate a crowd of supporters who can be called on to pledge to subsequent campaigns.
By having a fiscal host which has been independently verified, councils are able to pledge to crowdfunding campaigns. If that council happens to already have a partnership with Spacehive to support crowdfunding campaigns, then this process is even easier.
How to set up an agreement with an External Project Delivery Manager
The Mutual Aid group and the External Project Delivery manager need to agree in writing the terms of the fiscal hosting. This might for example cover how funds are passed from the Host to the Group based on volunteers submitting receipts to a ward co-ordinator, who verifies the transactions, collates them and sends them to the Group administrator.
The Group administrators could then submit a tranche of verified transactions to the External Project Delivery Manager, who could then transfer funds to pay back volunteers out of the funds raised through crowdfunding, once every week/fortnight.