Interview with Caritas Luxembourg

Interview with Caroline Theves, Head of donor and partner relations at Caritas Luxembourg, by Moienfund

 

Established in Luxembourg since 1932, Caritas have been one of Moienfund’s trusted partners since its launch in April 2016 and were among the first to leverage the platform to collect donations for specific projects.

We were honoured to have them take part in our soft launch as they are among the most active foundations in the area and have had a strong social impact locally through their social work with those less fortunate. Caritas also boosts development overseas, having come to the aid of many populations who have been victims of disasters.

Moienfund met up with Caritas Luxembourg to discuss the result of last year’s pilot project, to reflect on Luxembourg’s charity ecosystem and to hand over a cheque of 5,068 Euro raised on the platform in 2016.

 

Can you tell us a little about your involvement in Luxembourg?

 

Our activities are centred around helping the distressed and voiceless; acting as their interpreter. Through our various initiatives, we primarily help the homeless, refugees and migrants through social actions which aim to integrate them back into society; develop their skills, learn languages and hopefully find employment.

Our experience of caring for refugees goes back to the early 1990’s with the arrival of asylum seekers from the Balkan countries and today we are sheltering around 1200 people across the country.

We also work a lot with youths from troubled backgrounds, providing them with access to daytime institutions, foster homes and education. Our Young Caritas initiatives aims to encourage young people to volunteer on social projects.

We are also currently working on one new initiative “Neien Ufank”, the aim is to find homes and employment for refugees with asylum.

 

What areas of activity do you focus on abroad?

 

We work closely with Caritas Internationalis and Caritas Europa in several developing regions providing humanitarian aid, particularly in cases of emergency. For example, thanks to the reactivity of our donors we have been able to quickly gather resources and provide food and water to the famine victims in South Sudan.

We work together with local partners on our larger projects, in Haiti for instance, we provided relief to the victims of the earthquake (2010) but then we launched rehabilitation projects helping to rebuild the communities and after that, we developed prevention projects to help Haitians better prepare their infrastructure in the event of future natural disasters.

 

Can you comment on Luxembourg’s giving culture?

 

From our experience, Luxembourg has a good giving culture, of course, it is not as omnipresent as it is in the US or the UK, however older generations, foundations and parishes remain very loyal donors.

Caritas is also grateful to have a strong database of longstanding corporate and private contributors with whom we maintain close ties.

The migrant crisis coincided with a big surge in engagement as well, many people pulled together and donated their time, their money and their clothes.

The press also has a significant influence on the giving culture when issues are well covered in the media, we see an increase in donations.

“Where most organisations do not always have the necessary manpower to run regular marketing actions to raise funds, using Moienfund to present your project, run a campaign and see the results in real time has a real added value”

What are the key issues you encounter when it comes to fundraising for specific projects?

 

When we really need extra funds for a project, we launch mailing campaigns calling for donations and the response rate is generally quite good. However, it is sometimes difficult to balance donations between our initiatives for the homeless, refugees and children. Some donors just give money and leave us to determine its use, others request for it to be given to a specific project

Over the last 5-6 years, there is a tendency towards donating to local projects, where locals are becoming increasingly aware of the issues happening on their doorstep they prefer to invest their funds in helping their neighbours. This can make it difficult to raise funds for our long-term international initiatives.

 

How can a platform like Moienfund simplify the giving process for donors?

 

Where most organisations do not always have the necessary manpower to run regular marketing actions to raise funds, using Moienfund to present your project, run a campaign and see the results in real time has a real added value. There is equally a notable appeal for Corporate donors, who today tend to invest in their own socially responsible initiatives to foster more visibility. A one stop charity platform such as this one would provide them with a positive and effortless impact on brand notoriety.

I also think it could encourage younger generations to donate given it is online and therefore more accessible. The ability to share all the activity on the platform to your networks can also help to create a viral effect around your campaign.

 

Do you think it is encouraging for you and your donors to see the projects progress in real time via the platform?

 

Definitely, for the younger category of donors, who mostly communicate online through social networks it is exciting to see tangible results. However, for our more established community of donors, I think they value the personal contact that we maintain with them.

 

 

Caritas Luxembourg will be promoting two campaigns on Moienfund. One will be fundraising for the “social grocery stores” project, a series of convenience stores open around the Grand Duchy tailored to people who are bankrupt and have very little income. Moienfund visited one of these stores, the atmosphere is very welcoming and the staff are engaging, all items are priced at 30% of their retail value. The second campaign is a fundraising project to improve health services for rural Haitians in Delatte. 

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Emily Cooper

Emily Cooper

Emily studied film and media production, she has worked in Film, Events and Marketing in both London and Luxembourg. At the Blue Hub; Emily holds the fort, keeps the staff happy and manages Koosmik’s community and marketing.

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