The Importance of Long-Term Programs in Charitable Activities

Anatoly Karpov
International Association
of Peace Foundations

In my view, charitable programs that stretch over a long period of time are much more effective than one-off events.

First, long-term projects lend themselves to strategic planning, making it possible to avoid unnecessary emergency planning. Second, organizers of a program that spans several years and dozens of events will find it much easier to find partners who are interested in sustained cooperation or giving. Finally, only serious projects are capable of helping the needy to the maximum.

The programs “Silver Spring” and “The Autumn of Hope,” which the International Association of Peace Foundations is conducting with the support of JTI, are good examples to reinforce these points.

These programs aim to support pensioners and people with disabilities. We have set several goals for ourselves: improving the standards of living of the older generation, organizing enjoyable leisure pursuits, orienting the older generation in the high-tech world and providing targeted social assistance. Admittedly, those goals cannot be achieved in one go by organizing a concert or food handouts. Comprehensive, painstaking work is required.  

The programs are in their second year, and there is obvious progress, both quantitative and qualitative.

In 2008, we staged several events in Moscow as part of “Autumn of Hope.” The overall number of visitors exceeded 5,000 people. This year, we managed to organize events in three cities — Moscow, St. Petersburg and Yelets. The total number of guests was more than 11,000.

Last year, we enlisted students of the Gnessin School to take part in the programs. This year, we were helped by the Novospassky Monastery Choir, the Russian Symphony Orchestra under the guidance of Valitov, Anastasia Torina, the two-time laureate of the “Moscow Nightingale” competition, the Dzhigarkhanyan Theater company, Nadezhda Babkina’s Russian Song Theater and the Leisya Pesnya band.

Naturally, the number of gifts to veterans has increased. We have been able to provide old people with the foodstuffs, clothes, domestic appliances and medical equipment that they need.

It is also noteworthy that city and district administrations have shown willingness to meet us half way. Presumably they appreciate that we take a strategic view of our projects, that we are intent on continuing this important cause from year to year. Regarding the events in Yelets: JTI, a company that helps us significantly, maintains a factory in that city. It is not surprising that they have contributed to the satisfaction of all parties — us, the elderly people, the city and business. Enlisting a reliable partner in long-term programs may have a favorable effect on the geographical expansion of projects and may increase the number of people involved in the events. This is yet another illustration of the above thesis.

I dare to think that serious headway in our programs would have been impossible if we had focused exclusively on one-off events. We have devised an algorithm of events that are targeted at a certain audience; we have established permanent relationships that may prove useful in other projects; and we have become capable of extending the outreach of our programs constantly as a matter of routine. Time is on our side.

There is yet another argument in favor of long-term charitable programs. The International Association of Peace Foundations hails back to 1992, when it was formed on the basis of the Soviet Peace Foundation, which was formed in 1961. This means that we have been in charity for almost 50 years. Over that time, we ourselves have become a brand and gained a certain reputation. Furthermore, we are prepared to implement the most ambitious, long-term charitable projects. We are known by many, and we know those in need of aid. Charity is here to stay. It is forever.