How I quit my job to do charity

Olga Mansir, founder of the organization “For the Good”, told Woman's Day about the joys and difficulties of working in charity.

As a person born in the USSR, in a country where the state assumed a social burden, I, of course, could not imagine that I would someday be the founder of a charitable foundation. Everything turned out by itself. At first she helped her close people when it was needed, then from her student years as a volunteer she participated in conferences on human rights and equality, then she started organizing fundraising (including for the care of orphans when she worked in Zambia, and the elimination of earthquakes in Japan, in Kazakhstan).

Olga Mansir
Photo: Olga Mansir personal archive

After graduating from school, I entered the faculty of international relations of St. Petersburg State University.After receiving the diploma got a civil service in the government of St. Petersburg. The turning point of my life was the work at the British Embassy ...

When to hold back tears is impossible

Working at the British Embassy, ​​I was inspired by the idea of ​​“charity as a lifestyle” and then accidentally, as a participant in a charity tour, I became acquainted with the Children's Hospital fund. It was then that I managed to take the work of the charity project from the inside. I was very interested. And then at a joint exhibition of paintings by amateur artists, we agreed to make an auction of our works and transfer funds to this fund. We got a charity festival of arts, we collected 320 thousand rubles! A few months later, with this money, 20 teenagers from Russian regions arrived at a rehabilitation camp in Moscow. I, of course, met with these children. It was impossible to hold back tears ... Only 20 thousand rubles is the price of a happy future for one child! The programs offered by the Children's Hospital Foundation at the Children's Burn Center really change the lives of children who have experienced a burn and have been treated.They feel supported, make friends, learn to live with the consequences of injury and return to society. This, of course, was a powerful motivation for me to continue to engage in charity work, and a few months later I registered For the Good.

Work in the fund 60 hours a week

I was certainly fortunate that I had the opportunity for a while to leave a permanent job in order to come to grips with the development of the foundation. The fact is that there was no time for permanent work in parallel with the projects “For the Good”, since I was devoting 60 hours a week to the development of the AIE: I coordinated the fulfillment of tasks by volunteers, PR, and promotion in social networks; looking for sponsors; invited guests, spoke at events about the “For the Good”, and looked for new people to the team ... I also faced the task of finding a format of charity that would not alienate potential donors who are willing to donate, but are not ready to plunge into someone else's misfortune.

Now we have with the team behind us two charity arts festivals, charity lectures and two charity exhibitions of paintings.I can say that we felt for our niche, and this allowed us to slow down a bit.

10% of salary - to charity!

In my spare time, I take on the tasks that interest me — organizing and coordinating events in the field of art. This is my income, and I invariably transfer 10% of it to my fund. Thus, I try to inspire by my example, to shake those who have not made a habit of supporting charitable projects, but they have already matured the desire to help those in need.

About volunteers

There are about 20 people in the team (# team). These are kind, selfless people whom I sincerely admire! All of them came from responding to announcements on social networks, or hearing that I needed volunteers, through friends and acquaintances, or during any events. Usually, the person himself declares his skills, which can be useful in charity, and I turn to him as the task arrives. So I'm trying to avoid the problem of burnout volunteer.

Deal with people's distrust and criticism

Registering a fund is the easiest thing to do. But to cope with the difficulties that fate then sends is not easy.First of all, it is difficult to overcome distrust. Unfortunately, there were many unpleasant stories in Russia that were connected with the unscrupulous work of charitable organizations.

Fundraising is also not for the faint of heart. Today, helping someone else does not seem like a natural action.

It is also important in the work of the foundation that I did not have and do not have administrative support or a huge budget.Starting capital amounted to zero rubles. I had to ask for the money to organize the festival, to offer sponsorship packages, to persuade people to buy a painting, part of which proceeds from the sale will go to help. Some people evasively told me that they were not ready yet. There were also those who began to suggest that it would not work and it was time to abandon this undertaking. I had to hear slander about myself, for example, that I flew to the Maldives for the collected 1.5 million rubles ... That's what's interesting here: I have never been to the Maldives.

Sometimes listening to criticism and negative is very difficult. I admit there were moments when I wanted to give up, shut down at home and do nothing. But every time the people I work with, the volunteers, told me: “Olya, what are you? You can not give up.We are fighting for good! ”

At the same time, from a business point of view, probably, my foundation can be called successful - in less than a year of existence, after the payment of funds for charitable programs, about 300 thousand rubles remained in the organization’s account. But, of course, I want to make money come all the time, and this is exactly what we are working on now - finding a platform with which our like-minded people can transfer to the fund account the amount they consider comfortable for themselves at any time.

Photo: Olga Mansir personal archive

Help and not harm

Unfortunately, in our country, many people, wanting to help, only worsen the situation. I would like to share tips as it is not worth doing charity.

1. You can not give money on the street to people who are supposedly collecting them for charitable foundations. So you support the fraudsters, and your gesture of mercy will not bring good.

2. No need to throw toys in orphanages for children. This makes children not adapted to life in a normal environment, causes competition within the team, and subsequently leads to a distorted understanding that you can get all the best in life: a) by asking, rather than earning; b) using force.Otherwise, this is everyone’s choice: run a charity marathon, donate a picture for the auction, come to the same old house to the same old man twice a year; make a motivating speech in front of schoolchildren or wards of an orphanage, transfer money to a foundation that will effectively spend them. The main thing is to get help from the heart! There are websites accelerators. They help to find a foundation that solves the problem that you want to eradicate. Sophisticated search systems will help you decide on the region and the form of assistance (money, time, knowledge).

Tips for those who want to open their foundation

To open your foundation, you need to be prepared for difficulties, charity is not the world of pink ponies, it’s just as harsh a business as any. For me it is very difficult. By and large, I have to make decisions every day, leaving the gained work experience behind my back. It is necessary to communicate with people who have experience in fundraising; decide on a pool of experts whose opinion you trust. So that, having begun a grandiose fundraising for the treatment of a child, you know for sure that it can still be saved.Obstinacy, high communication skills, unwillingness to accept "no" as an answer and the belief that you are doing the right thing are definitely useful.

There is something you want to tell employees of large corporations. It is very useful to get into the environment of volunteers, people from the non-profit sector, for unloading the nervous system, reassessing their life values; After all, life in a large company takes place at high speeds, and a conscious stop is needed in order to go further. For this, in the West there is the practice of PRO BONO, or intellectual volunteering: lawyers, consultants, and accountants of the highest level undertake to devote several hours a week or a month to work in a charitable foundation.

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