More than half of households in a remote, largely rural area of West Scotland are living in energy poverty. ALIenergy has been working here for the past 20 years, seeking to combat the region’s very serious and increasing energy poverty problem.

“That’s absolutely incredible. You have no idea the relief this offers my wee family. Thank you so much for all your help. Regards and thank you so much again.”

ALIenergy client

Like many other charitable or not-for-profit organisations, ALIenergy relies mainly on multiple project grants to support its activities, meaning short-term and restricted spending budgets and a constant cycle of applications. To build a more solid and resilient financial foundation, ALIenergy recognised the need to secure multiple forms and sources of support.

To this end, ALIenergy is conducting a pilot project focused on developing a portfolio of donation-based funding mechanisms that could bolster resilience. By considering all the various support practices in use across the CEES partnership, ALIenergy selected multiple methods to investigate that might be helpful in providing greater sustainability. Establishing connections with a broad range of locally based firms seemed the most likely route to successfully receiving donations. The main challenge has been determining how best to make the contacts, raise awareness of the energy poverty situation, and enable people to engage and donate. 

Online donation button

A ‘Donate’ button has been set-up on the website, with a QR code for smart phone access and the capability to accept gift aid, enabling ALIenergy to reclaim tax on a donation made by a UK taxpayer, effectively increasing the amount of the donation. The new addition to the ALIenergy homepage allows instant donations from supporters. The process is secure and easy to use and can be promoted at local events and through social media channels. ALIenergy has already received over £1,000 (€1,137) in small donations.

Microdonations with purchases—making donating easy

Inspired by CEES partner Enercoop and their Energie Solidaire scheme, ALIenergy investigated how to obtain microdonations from customers of local businesses. The quick and simple donation method could capture a wide range of supporters and provide a long-term, steady income flow to support core costs. In exploring this option, however, ALIenergy learned that selecting businesses with a large local customer base in remote, rural Scotland is a challenge. Additionally, getting the micro-donation system in place may appear complicated or unattractive to businesses in the current cost-of-living crisis.  

Direct donations from locally based actors

Many organisations allocate funds for investment in communities in their working area. Face to face dialogue highlighting the increased energy poverty situation and raising awareness of household struggles has successfully encouraged donations from these locally based actors. For example, several donations from small businesses have been received and sufficient funding has been given by a large social housing provider to support the set-up of a new energy advice service for tenants. Clients have been delighted with the support offered by the new service:

“Wow, thank you.  Might start living for a while by putting on some heating I can’t thank you enough.”   

“Thank you so veeeeeerrrrry much. That will come just as I have many needs I was worrying about. Thanks again.”

Maintaining the momentum: the real challenge

Maintaining this engagement and support is the real challenge. The future requires ALIenergy to work on converting single donations into continued subscription to help free them from the grant cycle and gain greater long-term security.

© CEES Community Energy for Energy Solidarity | All Rights Reserved | Credits | Privacy Policy

European Flag

The CEES project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 101026972.