Thursday, 15 March 2018

Let’s not forget the quiet folk who donate to charities

Our CEO Jo Youle reminds us of all the silent fundraisers and donors who make a difference without asking for anything back, sharing her encounters with and celebrating the charity's unsung heroes.

In all the furore and justified outrage over the Presidents Club, I’m sad that tawdry and disgraceful behaviour by a few overshadows the brilliant ethos we have in the UK for quietly giving to good causes.

I got a touching letter that dropped on my desk just before Christmas. It was from a friend from my days at Samaritans saying “I’m so sorry I wasn’t able to join you at the Missing People Carol Service. The chemo is taking its toll. So here is a donation. It’s what I would have given on the night. Plus a little extra from the taxi fare I would have paid!” This is someone who has not only dedicated her working and volunteering life to charity, but also someone who supports many other charities too.
A little bird told me about another friend of Missing People, who recently got on his bike, from the hospital bedside of his poorly wife - with her blessing - to join us at the aforementioned Carol Service.  And left a generous donation, before peddling back to the hospital.

Someone else touches my heart on charity fundraising. He waits and watches online as pals struggle, £10 by £10 to reach sponsorship targets for their amazing feats. And just when they think they’re not going to reach the target, he stumps up the difference.

There’s another person I know who put up a reward to try and help find a missing girl. He did it anonymously at first. Until the clamour to know who it was got too great. And even then, no one knows that he went out of his way to offer his home and spa hotel, without cost, to provide much needed space and air for the family in the toughest of all worlds.

Two business people offered to support the charity after a single conversation with me. The conversation went like this. “You’re running a charity. I bet it’s hard not knowing what income might come in from one year to the next. Like me running my business. So, here’s my pledge to you. Each and every year.  An annual donation. For 3 years. Just so you know”

My kids have donated their pocket money to support my fundraising efforts. And come out to cheer too. To watch me slogging round a 10k. In the rain.
And it is sometimes people with the least means, who give the most.  

There are people up and down the country who give £2 or £5 or £10 every month to charities. Wanting to help someone they may never meet. They donate and expect no public praise. In fact they’re rarely heralded in public.

I met an older lady on a train at New Year. I talked to her about the work of Missing People and some of the families we had helped just before Christmas. Unprompted she said to me “When I’ve saved up a bit of cash in the New Year, I’m going to send your charity a donation.” A lifelong teacher. Of modest means. Quietly supporting a charity on the basis of a conversation on a packed train with a stranger.

And yes, we have our Gala Dinners. Done right, as I think we do at Missing People, they create moments that our supporters don’t forget. They bring our supporters close to those their funding will benefit. And we work really hard to keep the costs down. This year the Missing People Choir joined us. People missing a loved one, singing their hearts out and moving us all to tears with joy and sadness all wrapped up together.  That’s at the heart of why people supported us that night.

There are people who take to stages to support charities. Like our good friends singers G4. Personally touched by the heartache of a disappearance. Standing on stage at every gig. Sharing a deeply personal story. Asking for support for the charity. And audiences generously dropping cash in buckets rattled by volunteers.

It’s time to herald the quiet folk who support charities up and down this land. For when you give, you probably don’t know just how important you are. You make the difference each and every day. Every contribution you make, every monthly donation, every pound put aside for charity, is an investment in doing good. If you weren’t there. Neither would we.

So thank you for holding onto your charity heart. It’s you who deserve to be at the centre of the story.

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Someone is reported missing every 90 seconds in the UK. The Missing Blog aims to give a voice to all those affected by this issue.

Written by families and friends of missing people, supporters working to raise awareness of the cause, and volunteers and staff at the charity Missing People, we hope that this blog will offer a window into the issue of missing.

The charity Missing People is a lifeline when someone disappears. To find out more about Missing People and ways that you can support the charity visit

Call or text the charity Missing People for free on 116 000, 24/7 if you or anyone you know is affected by a disappearance.