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The Board of Trustees are pleased to share with our supporters and the public our PaganAid Annual Report 2016-17 for the year 2016-17.

The accounts show that we received £1,780.45 in donations over the year, incurred admin costs of £140 and made a charitable grant of £1,000 (see below).

The report also summarises our activities over the year:

Fundraising

PaganAid has received donations from individual supporters and from sympathetic organisations. The trustees wish to express our profound thanks to all who have given us support.

A particular mention goes to Malcolm Brown, who raised £350 by donating the total proceeds of the download sales of his music, and to The Druid Network who made a generous donation of £500. Thanks also to the Pagan Federation’s Wessex region and Devon & Cornwall region for the donations they made in 2015-16.

Grants

In August 2016, we made our first charitable grant. We gave a donation of £1,000 to Tree Aid to support its Women’s Forest Livelihoods programme in the Sahel region of Africa. This project will work with 950 women in the Passouré province of Burkina Faso to improve incomes and environmental sustainability. Our grant helped to:

  • Increase reliable household incomes by helping women to run enterprises based on neem, saba and shea tree products
  • Protect the forest and empowering women by legally registering women’s forest management groups
  • Reduce deforestation and demand for firewood by training women how to make fuel saving stoves

Organisational Development

During the course of the year, we took a number of steps to develop the charity, laying the groundwork for the future and the recruitment of more supporters and volunteers.

IT Systems

As part of our policy to keep our administrative costs to a minimum, we have moved the hosting of our website and taken the systems maintenance in-house, to be done by our IT Officer Chris Funderburg.

Volunteer Policy

Our Volunteer Coordinator, Alan Jones, developed a Volunteer Policy for PaganAid. The policy was created to emphasise our desire for supporters to be actively involved in running the charity and raising funds. It helps us to ensure that all volunteers will be treated in a fair and consistent way and will help our volunteers understand what support is available to them and what they can expect from us. We will be conducting a volunteer recruitment drive in the second half of 2017.

Public Liability Insurance

To ensure that volunteers and the public are protected, the Board has purchased (in July 2017) the Small Charity Connect Insurance Policy from Ansvar Insurance. This includes the following cover:

  • Public & Product Liability - £1,000,000
  • Employers Liability (for volunteers) - £10,000,000
  • Trustees & Directors Indemnity - £100,000

The insurance only applies to the UK, and so for the time being we will only recruit volunteers based in the UK.

Communications Policy

In March 2017, the Board approved PaganAid’s Communications Policy. This policy guides and supports the officers and volunteers of PaganAid to communicate effectively with internal and external audiences so that

  • PaganAid's values and beliefs are expressed both in what we say and the way we say it;
  • our audiences have a clear understanding of what PaganAid is, what we do and how we do it; and
  • we increase support for sustainable development in general and PaganAid in particular.

We would like to thank everyone for their most generous support, and we look forward to building on these foundations and bringing on board more volunteers and supporters in the year ahead. We will also be making more grants on behalf of the Pagan community to projects that protect Mother Earth and help reduce chronic poverty - watch this space!

In March, as required by UK law, we submitted to the Charity Commission our Annual Report covering the period from 1st July 2015 to 30th June 2016. That period saw us set up the website and payment platform as well as our Facebook page, leading to us launching PaganAid to the Pagan community in August 2015. We received £1,905.11 in donations during the year thanks to the generosity of our many supporters. Our costs were £337, mainly for the setting up of the website and payment processors. That gave us net assets of £853.11. We didn’t make any donations during that financial year – our first donation wasn’t until August 2016. You can download the report here: PaganAid Annual Report 2015-16

Stuart Jeffery, our Treasurer, gave an update to our last Board meeting, telling us that in the six months from July to December 2016, we raised a further £1,182.11 with expenses of just £20. After our grant of £1,000 to Tree Aid, we had net assets of £1,015.72.

Expect a new financial update soon, with our Annual Report for 2016-17 to be completed later this year.

Thank you for your support.

Ian

At its meeting in March, the Board approved a Volunteer Policy for the charity, drawn up by our Volunteer Coordinator Alan Jones. The policy was created to emphasise our desire for supporters to be actively involved in running the charity and raising funds. It helps us to ensure that all volunteers will be treated in a fair and consistent way and will help our volunteers understand what support is available to them and what they can expect from us. You can download it from our Policy page here.

There has been a delay in publishing this policy and putting it into action because one of the prerequisites is for us to have suitable insurance. Sorting this out fell to me, but my work and my involvement in the local and national elections in the UK has distracted me, so that’s taken a while to sort out, for which I apologise. The insurance we have been able to secure only covers us in the UK, so for the time being, the volunteer policy only covers volunteers in the UK. We will investigate means of extending this to other countries in the future.

Now that the policy and insurance is in place, we will renew our efforts to recruit a team of volunteers to take PaganAid to the next level. Watch this space.

Blessings,

Ian

It is a year since we launched PaganAid and the support we have received from across the pagan community has been fantastic. With your donations, we have made our first grant of £1,000 to Tree Aid to support their Women’s Forest Livelihoods project in the Passoré province of central Burkina Faso in West Africa.

Suzanne: “In the dry season, I use the nuts to make shea butter which I turn into soap and sell at the local market. This gives me enough money to buy food until the main harvest.”
Suzanne: “In the dry season, I use the nuts to make shea butter which I turn into soap and sell at the local market. This gives me enough money to buy food until the main harvest.”

This project will work with 950 women to improve their incomes and environmental sustainability by:

  • Helping women to run enterprises based on neem, saba and shea tree products
  • Reducing deforestation and demand for firewood by training women how to make fuel saving stoves
  • Empowering women to protect and restore the forest by legally registering Burkina Faso’s first women’s forest management groups and planting 40,000 trees of different varieties that provide fruit and nuts for eating, are good for improving the soil and biodiversity, and provide a habitat for wildlife.

Woman using fuel-saving stove_webWith PaganAid’s grant of £1,000 Tree Aid will train all 950 women how to make fuel-saving stoves. This will make a dramatic effect to the environment and the lives of these women and their families. And it is all thanks to the donations of pagans like you.

We want to make a second grant to this project, but need your help to make it happen. With just another £1,000 the women of the project can plant 4,000 native tree seedlings in the forest. Imagine what a difference that will make.

How many trees can you help them plant?

Tree seedlings_web

 

 

 

 

 

all photos courtesy of Tree Aid

 

Wow – its been five weeks since we went public with the launch of PaganAid and the response has been fantastic. There was a real buzz across the many pagan Facebook groups and Damh the Bard interviewed me for the OBOD podcast. Hundreds of people have ‘liked’ our posts and signed up to our mailing list, and most gratifyingly, many of them have given us a donation to support the projects we want to fund. To cap it all, on Saturday, the Devon & Cornwall branch of the Pagan Federation gave us a donation of £500. Many thanks to you all.

Behind the scenes there has been quite a lot of work going on, which partly explains why we haven’t been as vocal as we wanted. We had to iron out a few bugs in the software we are using, one in particular that was causing some problems to people trying to donate in Euros and US$. This has now been sorted and it all appears to be working well, so if you tried to make a donation and failed, please try again.

Looking ahead to the next few weeks, we want to publicise PaganAid even wider in the pagan community and convert more ‘likes’ into donations. We also need to recruit some more volunteers to help with promotion and some of the administrative tasks – more on this soon.

Thanks again to everybody for your support and enthusiasm – pagans really want to make a difference to the world we all share.

Blessings,

Ian

Imbolc is a time for planting seeds, and so it was in February last year that I started the process of setting up PaganAid.

I’d been thinking about it for some time – working in international development for over 25 years, I was only too aware that there was no pagan equivalent of the many Christian, Muslim and Jewish aid charities. I wanted there to be a charity that I could identify with, that reflected my love for Mother Earth and expressed my compassion for those suffering extreme poverty. But just as seeds will not grow unless they are planted, I realised that for my wish to be realised, I had to make it happen. My intent expressed, my real journey began.

The first phase involved a lot of research, writing and talking. Vision documents were written, financial projections drawn up, and a Board of Trustees established. PaganAid was officially formed on the Summer Solstice and we submitted our application to the Charity Commission for approval. Although we were confident that our objectives to relieve poverty and protect the environment were ‘charitable’ under UK law, we were still nervous as no pagan charity had previously been registered except for The Druid Network. Finally, the response came: we had been accepted and PaganAid was a registered charity!

Next, the hard work really began. Setting up a bank account was surprisingly fraught (we were given the run around and then rejected by two banks before the CAF Bank said yes), but the main challenge was setting up an on-line system that would manage the receipt of payments and communications with our supporters. We wanted to run with just volunteers and the lowest possible overheads, so everything had to be simple, automated and open-source. After trying out different options, we settled on using CiviCRM integrated with a WordPress website. Setting this up was a little complicated as we are an international charity, raising funds in multiple currencies, so we did hire in some technical support (Graham at MC3). With his help we have now established a simple website and database, which we can further develop over the months and years ahead.

We are almost ready to go live, to spread the word and encourage pagans everywhere to visit our website and make a donation. I’ve already started exploring projects that we can fund once we have some money in place (more on that later).

I believe that the launch of PaganAid represents a major step in the maturing of the western pagan community, a time where pagans of all paths join hands together and speak the truth of their values with pride and confidence.

 

Ian Chandler

24th July 2015