Welcome to the first blog post on betterplace.
At ConCERT we work with many different local grassroot NGOs and know how important financial transparency is. This is why I want to explain how we've been funded for the last 2 years and why we still want to raise more funds on betterplace.
Our aim to reduce poverty by bringing together organisations active in the community, with visitors who would like to give their support, can only be realised by the engagement of the local businesses - hotels, guesthouses, restaurants, bars, shops, tour operators, etc. As mentioned in the project description, we work with around 60 local business partners in Siem Reap (see a list of here them http://concertcambodia.org/businesspartner.aspx?type=1).
They are our direct link to tourists visiting Siem Reap. Many of them ask at their hotels' reception for volunteer opportunities or trustworthy organisations that need their support. Others have general questions about the situation in Cambodia or the story behind the many street children.
Businesses refer their guests to us because we provide high quality information. They don't have to do the research. Many guests extend their stays if they can find a volunteering position, which benefits local projects as well as the hotel they're staying with.
In addition, many tour groups are interested in doing some very short-term volunteering or "social group activities" that help the communities. We help tour operators and hotels to develop responsible activities that satisfy their guests' wishes and support good causes at the same time.
Businesses that want to receive this service need to join as members for at least a year and pay an annual membership fee between $100-$550, depending on their size and potential daily/nightly income.
This is where our main funding comes from. In addition, we occasionally get donations. Just this winter we received $2500 from the Tides Foundation to continue to do what we're doing. Sometimes visitors that have been very satisfied with the information we could provide leave small donations in our donation box.
This funding keeps the office running (rent, electricity, communication, promotional material, salaries, office supplies, etc.) and we're proud to have this source of funding for our project. However, there is no money yet for extra projects, as hosting interns or setting up more information displays (the last ones we set up were all donated, either by the business that presented it itself or friends of ConCERT). The founder Michael Horton still puts in some of his one money.
In the long-term we plan to set up ConCERT offices in other parts of Cambodia as well, as tourism in other regions begins to increase. We want to be there from the beginning and help to develop sustainable structures. To realise this plan we'll need even more funding in the future. This is the start.
Please support us and feel free to ask any questions.