Charities in the UK survive on the goodwill of members of the public to make donations of their money, food or time, depending on the needs of that charity. The government also helps charities: UK tax law means that every donation made with a Gift Aid declaration is added to by the government, so a £1 donation with Gift Aid is equivalent to the charity receiving £1.25. That may not seem much on that scale, but added up over countless donations and when applied to larger donations this ‘gift’ from the government really makes a difference to charities in the UK.
Christmas is the season of goodwill and in theory, therefore, it should be easy for charities to fundraise. But in fact donations and fundraising events often dwindle over the festive season as people have more demands placed on their budget. Charities like the RSPCA also have greater-than-ever demands on their budget at this time of year, with higher energy bills and more calls from members of the public concerned about animals in the cold weather, pets being left alone or involved in domestic disputes (which are more common over Christmas and New Year).
Like the emergency services for humans, the RSPCA is on call throughout the year including on Christmas Day. RSPCA Inspectors are on duty to come out to emergencies when an animal is in danger or in need, and they never know what they might face. They could have to deal with a situation involving domestic violence and work alongside the police to remove animals in need of rescue. They might also be called out because someone has noticed that their neighbours have been away on holiday and left their dog or other pets unattended, or that their elderly neighbour has had to be taken to hospital or into a care home after a fall, leaving their pet alone.
Often a person calling the RSPCA does not leave enough detail for the Inspectors to be fully prepared for what they might face. Few people give thought to the fact that though the Inspectors are trained and may face some very distressing situations as part of their job, they are also human and experience the same feelings as everyone else would when faced with a neglected or abused animal.
The RSPCA has set up their Choices site to allow people to make donations directly to particular projects.
Project funding is an important part of the RSPCA’s role, making sure that each element of their remit is properly prioritised and receives a fair share of the donations made by the public. One of their winter campaigns is called the Everyday Heroes project, designed to raise awareness of Inspectors’ roles and to raise funds for that element of the charity’s work.
If you are interested in supporting the Everyday Heroes of the RSPCA who step into the unknown to protect vulnerable animals, check out the RSPCA Choices’ project funding site and either make a donation or maybe even set up a fundraising event over Christmas.