News that the Online Hate Prevention Institute is vacating its office has rightly raised questions on our social media page. We’re moving out of our office as we can no longer afford the cost of maintaining it. We have been unable to pay staff since March and eliminating the office removes our next largest expense.
OHPI was originally setup with seed funding by private donors. The funding allowed us time to show what we could do. Our work established us both locally and internationally as global leaders in combating online hate. When the funding ran out, we had demonstrated our value, but had been unable to find new donors.
The Victorian Government provided us with some emergency support in late 2015 / early 2016 to keep us fully operational for a number of weeks until new government grants would opened. When the grants process did open, we made two applications to different sources. We have recently been told both were unsuccessful. We received nothing to support out continued work.
This is not entirely surprising as we’ve noticed government grants tend to support particular communities. Many different communities are supported, be they religious communities, ethnicity communities, or geographic communities (e.g. local councils or groups from a specific place). The Online Hate Prevention Institute tackles problems faced each of these communities, but but because we cover them all we don’t get funding.
We believe our approach is of high value to the people of Victoria, the Australian public and indeed internationally. It allows our expertise to be used, and constantly refined, for the benefit of all impacted groups. It allows those who come to us a victims of one type of hate, to also learn about and stand as part of the wider community against other types of hate. This is community resilience in action. This is how we build harmony across the community. It’s just not what government processes are setup to fund.
Donors and Crowd-Funding
We have tried other sources of funding, including major donors and crowd-sourcing. We are a relatively new charity dealing with a new problem… and most major donors today are looking to cut back, not to expand their giving. Many foundations are also limited in ways that prevent them giving to OHPI as the problem of online hate was not around when they were created and the types of things they could fund were written into their trust deeds.
Even when it comes to small donations, we just can’t compete with larger charities, some of whom used paid marketing companies to phone people and pressure them into giving. The overselling and pressure tactics by some large charities have seriously damaged people’s good will towards charities. That causes even greater problems for a small charity like ours as more people default to saying no, and others have already given another charity (and possibly a commercial tele-marketing company that it making the calls and taking a cut) all they can afford to give. We’ve seen how an online call for donations can now get thousands of likes and shares, without a single donation. We have all got so used to just ignoring calls for donations that it’s been over two months since OHPI got a single unexpected online donation.
What does the future hold?
Very soon we’ll need to either close, or secure enough funding and volunteers to continue but in a new way. If we choose to continue, the first step is finding a minimum of 125 people willing to make a reoccurring monthly donation of at least $10. If we can do that, we can start restructuring to have larger volunteer run committees to help with further fund raising, the creation of content for the site, engagement with different communities and the promotion and growth of FightAgainstHate.com. Doing this means spreading the word and gaining the support through grassroots activism, without the support of staff or paying for online advertising. We just don’t have the staff or the resources to spend on advertising. If you are up for it, you can start by setting up a reoccurring donation yourself.
If enough people want to keep OHPI alive, we’ll make it happen. I’ll do my part to support it, but at this point we need to change or die. We can’t continue as we are, and I can’t continue to work full time without pay as if nothing is wrong, while slowly eating through my life savings. The problem of online hate are growing and growing… I believe the Online Hate Prevention Institute has helped to make a dent in it, but this isn’t a burden I can carry alone. I invite you to join me.
What you can do: Setup a reoccurring donation. You can do this with paypal by clicking the “contribute now” button. Please make sure you tick the box (shown at arrow 2 in the picture below) to make it a reoccuring payment. If you prefer, you can set it up through online banking with your bank. Our details are Account Name: Online Hate Prevention Fund, BSB: 083-088, Account: 73-337-6910 (if you set it up at the bank please check it is a reoccurring payment and let us know). Once you you have set up a payment, if you can find two more people to also support us, that would make a huge difference.
What I’ll do: I will update Facebook here for each 10 people that setup a reoccurring donation of $10 or more
What is we don’t reach a sustainable level? In that case you may end up making a few payments before we decide we are closing for good and terminate the regular payments from our end. If we close, all money we have will be passed on to another harm prevention charity, ideally one that tackles racism.
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