Personal money – use of

It is against SWVG policy for a volunteer to give their own money to someone they are working with through SWVG.

Using personal money could harm SWVG

  • It is important to be fair and to be seen to be fair. The aim is to ensure the fairest possible allocation of money. Vulnerability and need, and lack of other support, are the main criteria for allocation of SWVG money.  
  • If individual visitors give personal financial support this undermines our collective decision making process.  It also unfairly advantages some asylum seekers over others.
  • The Money Allocation Group has detailed information about the needs of each person, provided by the volunteer , with the asylum seeker’s agreement.  They make decisions which can be difficult, and choices have to be made as funds are limited.    
  • Our funders require that we have clear, fair criteria for the allocation of resources.
  • The agencies and people who refer people to SWVG expect SWVG to use its funds, not personal money, to help asylum seekers.  If they thought voluneteers were giving personal money to clients they might hesitate to make referrals.
  • Working through SWVG offers a guarantee of certain standards of support and protection to both asylum seekers and visitors.
  • It is understandable that some volunteers want to give additional funds to a person they have come to like, and want to support in every way they can.  However, if an individual volunteer gives someone personal financial support, this changes the nature of their relationship, and establishes a relationship different from that expected by SWVG.
  • The individual contribution of each visitor to SWVG’s work is their time, commitment and understanding support to each asylum seeker with whom they work.  Any financial support to a client is from SWVG as a whole.

A policy against using personal money protects volunteers from feeling pressurised.

  • It is only through being a member of SWVG that a volunteer has contact with someone seeking sanctuary. 
  • When financial decisions are made by SWVG as a whole, this ensures the relationship is on a realistic and fair basis.
  • A volunteer can explain the process, and not feel pressurised to use their own money. 
  • Some visitors are better able to give financial support; others would be disadvantaged, and possibly feel under pressure to give money they cannot afford.  Some visitors could come to be seen as a “soft touch” and sought out by individual clients.  People do talk to each other!

This policy doesn’t prevent a volunteer giving an occasional small present or treat (e.g. for a birthday), which is perfectly acceptable.

If you are able and keen to give financial support, please give to SWVG as a whole.  Several volunteers do this already.