TEXT: ANTONIA ROJO PHOTO: THINKSTOCK
I confess: I’m a micro-donor.
I confess: I’m a micro-donor. And I’m not alone. I form part of that 24.3 percent of Spaniards over the age of 18 who try to do their bit to make this world a better place. According to the Study of Spaniards Collaborating with NGOs and the 2016 Donor’s Profile of the AEFr (Spanish Fundraising Association), there are 9.3 million of us… and rising. The improving economic situation and the advent of the new technologies have been key factors in producing dramatic changes in solidarity trends over the last few years.
It is still common to find groups of young people in our city centers offering information on the NGOs they represent and trying to sign up new members to make their projects financially viable. However, as in so many other areas, solidarity nowadays can be expressed simply by connecting to the Internet and searching for a social crowdfunding platform.
Fundación MAPFRE launched its own platform – #SeSolidario – in March 2017 with a special mission: to act as a bullhorn publicizing small organizations, which make up 76 percent of the social enterprises in Spain. “They receive a mere ten percent of the subsidies and yet they offer more direct help to a greater number of people at risk of social exclusion,” explains Pedro Méndez, from Fundación MAPFRE’s Social Action Area.
#SéSolidario represents advice more than a command, a boost rather than an order. Its aim is to channel that collaborative energy flowing between civil society and the NGOs. “We are the only foundation that provides small social enterprises with a comprehensive program to help solve their greatest needs,” Méndez stresses. The sector has welcomed this Fundación Mapfre initiative with open arms and, so far, over 200 entities have signed up to the program. “We focus on providing specialized training for carrying out their activity, offering to spread the word and publicize their cause, arrange volunteering collaborations to facilitate the execution of their projects, and raise funds through crowdfunding,” Méndez points out.
Fundación MAPFRE guarantees that these are real projects targeting those who need them the most and that one hundred percent goes into the project
The fact is that social enterprises not only rely on money: human and media capital are the other pillars on which to build a sustainable goal. “Granting us greater visibility means people get to know us and what we do… if I get a lot of help, I can help a lot!” states Pilar Aural, founder of the ‘Pato Amarillo’ [Yellow Duck]. Her organization, which supports struggling families in the Orcasitas neighborhood of Madrid, was one of those chosen to inaugurate #SeSolidario.
The program consists of two causes: ‘Vidas Cruzadas’ [Interwoven Lives], with projects centered on the well-being of people affected by rare diseases or functional diversity. And ‘Cuenta con Nosotros’ [Count on Us], which collaborates with entities offering support to those most in need with food, clothing, medicines, etc. There is a third additional cause, ‘Emergencias’, which is solely triggered in response to natural disasters and extraordinary aid campaigns. “Each year we renew the solidarity projects and organizations that form part of each of these causes. We always distribute donations – whether monetary or otherwise – in an equitable fashion between them,” declares Belén Rosales, from Fundación MAPFRE’s Social Action Area.
In 2018, the new causes have truly descriptive names. Such as ‘El Patio de los Valientes’ [Playground of the Brave], which aims to prepare a recreational area for children admitted to the Oncology Unit of the Virgen del Rocío Hospital in Seville. Or ‘Universos Infantiles’ [Children’s Universes], a center caring for children with functional diversity which wishes to renew its stimulation and learning materials. In Valencia, ‘Mucho más que Comer’ [Much More Than Meals] runs three free schools for children aged 1-3 and is striving to meet the costs of school materials and uniforms. Finally, ‘Hogares para el Futuro’ [Homes for the Future] are supervised flats for mothers with children over three years of age with gender violence or immigration issues. They are provided with food, school integration, medical care, etc. Four specific projects with very clear needs, which can make a real difference to the families they assist.
To form part of #SeSolidario, each organization has gone through a selection process in which transparency is key. This verification and the security of the micro-donation process are, precisely, two of the strengths of this Fundación MAPFRE program. “The perception in society is that only a certain percentage of what people donate to a cause actually goes toward running the project,” Méndez points out. “We guarantee that these are real projects targeting those who need them the most and that one hundred percent of all proceeds go into the project, with Fundación MAPFRE assuming any administrative costs that may arise.”
I have already donated. The process is simple: I went to the Fundación MAPFRE website and learned about the chosen projects. I clicked on the Donate Now button for the one I most closely identify with. I entered the amount I felt I should give. I filled in my personal and credit card details and made the payment. As simple as buying a ticket for a movie. But much more real than any movie and, what’s more, it is tax deductible.