Introducing: Living Wage Friendly Funders
Cynnal Cymru- Sustain Wales have been the Living Wage Accreditation body in Wales since 2016. The Living Wage Foundation works to improve pay conditions across all sectors but has recognised particular problems within the Charity sector and has created an Action Plan to combat this. The Friendly Funders Scheme works in accordance with this action plan and is aimed at organisations with grant-making powers.
The Friendly Funders Scheme is for organisations who give out money to charities, community projects or any other kind of organisation for the duration of certain posts and projects. Funders make an agreement with the Living Wage Foundation to pay the Living Wage to anybody employed in posts funded by the grants, through making it a condition of receiving the funding, although there are other options available to those interested in the scheme. Through doing this, Friendly Funders are helping to combat wealth inequalities in the infamously low-paid charity, voluntary and community sectors and boost local economies.
Ironically, it is often the workers who are fighting for social justice and equality through their charity work that face the injustice of an insufficient wage for a decent standard of living. This means having all of your basic needs met with a good work/life balance, with a little extra cash in your pocket to enjoy the life part, or opportunities to save for the future. Essentially, the difference between barely making ends meet and being able to enjoy a life that enables physical and emotional well-being.
Naturally, charities operate with their charitable objectives in mind and a moral compass in hand but true power over income and pay lies with funders and commissioners. The Friendly Funders Scheme works by engaging with those with the power to influence levels of pay within the sector. In November 2017, there were 30 Friendly Funders UK-wide with a combined annual grant distribution of £831 million. The number of Friendly Funders has since gone up to 36. However, only one of these is a Welsh funder; WCVA. We need to see more Welsh funders joining this strategic community of ethical grant-makers in order to improve pay conditions for our charity workers and strengthen Welsh economies. Issues of low-pay are particularly prominent in the Welsh context, with nearly a quarter of all people in Wales living in relative income poverty after housing costs.
Demanding a Living Wage is particularly important for women; who make up 65% of the charity workforce, underrepresented BAMER (Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic, and Refugee) workers (8%), younger and older workers, part-time workers and those working within charities with less than 25 employees (47%).
- Low Pay in the Charity Sector, The Living Wage Foundation
- Welsh Government Poverty Statistics
- Becoming a Friendly Funder FAQs and Guide