Ukraine volunteer: Fundraising is harder this year after charity scandals

Erko Laidinen.
Erko Laidinen. Source: ERR

Several scandals at Estonian charities have made it harder to raise money for Ukraine this year, according to an Estonian volunteer war zone ambulance driver.

"It's been a tough year all round – scandal after scandal and large sums. The misuse of people's trust has affected all of our activities," Laidinen told Wednesday's "Ringvaade".

Earlier this week, it was reported that the operator of the platform and its sole board member Henri Laupmaad is accused of embezzlement. This follows on from the Slava Ukraini scandal this spring.

Laidinen, who collects vehicles and equipment for Ukrainian medics and frontline medics, said these cases also affect other aid workers' reputations.

He said he had a little cooperation with Laupmaa but experienced no problems.

The volunteer said it can be felt that donations are slowing but transparency helps build trust.

"It has helped people a lot that when they donate, we bring them directly to these units, they get direct contact and follow up on these units. It helps to keep the donations [coming]," Laidinen said.

His main supporters are organizations, not individuals. 

"Since I've made a name for myself there, there are organizations that have approached me and got me involved in different projects. I've been lucky with that. I don't depend so much on individual donations anymore. The individual donations that come in, I try to [use them] fill in any gaps that, for example, these organizations can't fill in for various reasons, whether it's for their own internal political reasons or whatever," he said.

Northern District Prosecutor's Office's Senior Prosecutor Sirle Melk, told "Ringvaate" that the platform proceedings are still in the early stages, and are connected to one specific project.

"The allegation is that Henri Laupmaa, by collecting donations through his platform, failed to transfer them to the organizers of the campaign," said Melk.


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Editor: Merili Nael, Helen Wright

Source: Ringvaade

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