If you want to give to charity, the most efficient way to do it is often to donate locally. Most of the charities that we hear about in the news are headquartered in London – it’s easier to get attention when you have the national media on your doorstep – but although they may not get the same level of attention, there are some fantastic Northern charities out there, and they’re always in need of support.

They work not only locally but also around the world. Research has shown that it’s the poorest people who give the most, and even when the North has gone through hard times, its charities have been changing lives for the better.

Northern charities that you should know better

Great charities working within their local areas include Falcon Support Services, which helps people escape homelessness in Leicestershire; Staffordshire Women’s Aid, which helps victims of sexual assault and domestic abuse; and Apex Charitable Trust, which works with former offenders in Merseyside, helping them to find jobs and reintegrate into society. By working with some of society’s most vulnerable people, these charities provide them with a second chance in life.

Northern charities working internationally include the Penny Appeal, which turns people’s loose change into vital support for people in troubled areas such as Syria and Yemen; Mines Advisory Group (MAG), which helps to clear landmines in former conflict areas to keep people safe; and the Traidcraft Foundation, which helps people in developing countries to sell their produce without going through exploitative middle men so that they can get fair prices for their work and escape poverty. Together, these charities are giving people in the most disadvantaged parts of the world an opportunity to transform their lives and communities.

Why smaller charities matter

When people think about donating to charity, they usually only consider the big names, but a lot of vital work is done by smaller charities. Often, these charities have distinctive ways of working that allow them to focus their talents and really get results, or they work on niche issues that nobody else is attending to. They usually put all their money into their work, so they don’t have much left over to spend on generating publicity, and if they’re staffed by volunteers, they may not have much fundraising expertise. Often, they depend on local support in order to keep going.

How charities access funding

Charities have various ways of sourcing funding. Some receive money from the government, usually for specific projects, and the EU provides grants in a similar way. There are also assorted private funds and trusts that provide grants to charities that they think are doing impressive work. Charities need to make applications in order to access these funds, and some are much better at writing these than others. Alongside this, charities depend on corporate sponsors, individual donations and money raised from fundraising events, usually by local volunteers. You don’t need to have specialist skills to support a charity – if you can help raise money for it, you can make a big difference.