Who can apply and how do you monitor and asses applications?
Anyone who identifies as a survivor (regardless of gender) or who doesn’t identify as a survivor but has experienced rape, sexual violence/abuse/harassment/coercion, domestic violence/abuse, gender-based violence/abuse, trafficking or FGM/C. We don’t dictate or judge who can apply. Within accessing support too often are are asked to prove our vulnerability and “deservability”. There are usually long forms, including monitoring and evaluation, that once again make us feel inferior and more vulnerable. Instead of this, here, we operate on a trust basis. When someone applies they fill out a very simple application of six basic questions (most are optional). If we have funds and receive an application, it is granted. It is that simple. There are no feedback or evaluation forms for the applicant. If you are a partner, friend or relative of a survivor and have no money but want to treat them, you can also apply and use the fund to buy them a gift or do something nice together. You are not expected to tell them where the money came from.
So what actually happens to money I donate?
Your money goes directly to the fund. We use PayPal and money stays in our PayPal until a survivor applies and we send them funds they’ve applied for. We use PayPal as they don’t take a cut from what you donate like other fundraising platforms. We don’t have a bank because we are not a charity or official governing body (if you want to know why see here). If someone apples from a country with different currency to the pound (which has happened) they get the full amount of £10 in their currency at the current conversion rate. PayPal does charge a tiny amount for this (between 30p £1.20) which comes out the fund not the mini grant going to the recipient.
How do you sustain yourselves?
We currently rely on independent donations (this means no grants, sponsors or conglomerates getting involved and restricting, controlling or interfering with what we do and how we operate). This makes it harder to get funds but means we can maintain control of how we offer support based entirely on what survivors tell us they need. This is imperative to be able to stand up for what we believe in and be able to run something in a completely different way. We are not payed and work in free time when we have capacity, energy, joy and desire to. Having both experienced burnout from unhealthy working patterns in the past it is important that we have developed this more organic way of working that suits our needs.
Do we use the fund ourselves?
Um yes! It wouldn’t make sense to not practice what we preach and we are survivors too. We don’t see ourselves separate from those that apply and so it is important that we treat ourselves and take breaks too. So if we want cake and coffee after we have been working we make ourselves indulge.
Can I apply more than once?
Yes. There aren’t any rules or restrictions around this and we don’t believe that support should be restricted or capped. However we believe in distributing this fund fairly so if we get a high volume of people applying we might have to look at who hasn’t already applied and work out the fairest way of sharing funds. We are still trying to figure this out, so any suggestions are very welcome.
What if I don’t have a PayPal account?
If you don’t have a PayPal account you can give us the Paypal email address of a person that you trust and we can transfer it to them to get the money out for you. We know some people don’t have or have access to bank accounts due to immigration status or because they currently live in a safe house or have no fixed abode. We are trying to make this as accessible as possible so any suggestions are welcome.