We began with nine categories. Most donors registered using this version. The focus was on capturing preferences that covered the whole range of charitable activity, using a minimal number of categories. The most frequent question we anticipated was about the proportion of money spent abroad, so we presented donors with a “Global causes” category to make this choice fairly explicit.
- Emergency & Poverty
- Development & Welfare
- Global causes
- Art & culture
The second version was driven by our experience trying to map projects to categories in the first version, and looking for ways to communicate the scope of each category – both were difficult in places.
Art & culture was removed as a category in its own right, as it would have required substantially different treatment, and we considered it unrealistic for the board to make representative allocations based on the information captured. To take into account existing donor preferences, it made sense to look for art and cultural contributions as a factor when selecting projects in other categories. There were many opportunities to do this in practice, as we saw art employed in solutions to other problems, aiding communication with sufferers, or building confidence and self-worth, or in building communities. At this point, we decided that our focus should be on suffering, and that supporting cultural organisations beyond this should not be within our primary goals. We recognise that in making this choice, we are working with a narrower definition of charity than allowed for by UK law and the regulator. We consider that it is a very clear and intuitive division to make, and that whether organisations falling outside our scope may benefit from similar tax-breaks is unlikely to be a matter of concern to our donors.
Emergency & Poverty and Development & Welfare were separated into four independent categories. Additionally, we had found it difficult, based on the domestic projects we had seen, to justify Emergency and Development as top-level categories in their own right, while the global projects we had seen all fell neatly into the two categories, so we changed their remit to cover projects abroad primarily, and removed Global causes from the list.
The final version was driven by the switch to using the Charity Commission database to find projects – this method was more effective when using a similar categorisation to the database, which uses the categories defined in charity law.
We divided Welfare into four categories: Abuse, Addiction, Disability and Unemployment. We split Poverty into three to cover Homelessness and Refugees in their own right.
- Children + family
- Crisis relief
- Older people