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Thursday 22 February 2018

Street cash crucial for Amnesty, says CEO

Colm O'Gorman of Amnesty Ireland Picture: Maxwells
Colm O'Gorman of Amnesty Ireland Picture: Maxwells
Luke Byrne

Luke Byrne

Amnesty International has said its on-street fundraising is crucial because it can direct the money raised to where it is most needed.

Money received from regular donors is not subject to the same restrictions as other sources, such as government aid, Amnesty's chief executive Colm O'Gorman explained.

This means that the human rights campaign organisation can quickly direct funding to where it can be of greatest help.

Mr O'Gorman accepted that some people find on-street fundraising annoying and he didn't want to diminish this.

"I get that some people don't like it and I understand why. But I have to say we get very, very few complaints," he said.

"We don't take any money from the State at all and that's at the global level," he said - other than a "small amount" from Irish Aid to help teacher training in human-rights education.

Mr O'Gorman said that this amounted to less than 1pc of Amnesty's €3m-a-year budget.

He pointed out that everyone the organisation signed up on the street became a member and helped shape the policy of Amnesty. This type of on-street sign up was the most effective recruitment method.

He added: "What gives us our strength and authority is our membership.

"When I came to work in Amnesty around 2008, our membership was about 10,000 people.It's now heading for 20,000.

"Our members decide everything about the organisation."

Irish Independent

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