About Us

The homeowner who donates: an interview with Liz

“If you are particularly passionate about issues we have in our world, why not use this as an opportunity to do fundraising? This would allow us to progress in solving the issues you truly believe in. It may not be cancer – you may be concerned about animal welfare or the status of underprivileged people of the world. Or football, why not?”

Earlier in September we celebrated our charity week. We featured profiles of our charity partners, and how to support your chosen charity: by donating the money you earn by letting out your home when you’re away. We introduce Liz, who lets out her home in Barnes to support a range of cancer charities.

Liz is a traveller. She was born in St. Petersburg and grew up in Sweden, to reflect her half-Russian, half-Swedish roots, and has since lived in seven countries. Liz began an international career from a young age that saw her travel the world – and she loves every moment of it. From the beginning she has been very clear there are two aspects that drive her to work with UnderTheDoormat: to allow others to enjoy her home (as part of the sharing economy) and to raise money for her charities even when she’s away, travelling around the world.

So why did you begin letting out your home with UnderTheDoormat?

“We have commodities in the world that can be better utilised by sharing, and I try to support companies in the sharing economy. For quite a while the place where I’m living lies empty, while I’m travelling. I’m not in a position to run a B&B or host people – the thing that attracts me is that my home is looked after while I’m away. I can find my place exactly the way it was when I left. This is your home, you know? You want to return and feel that it is not intruded by other people.”

Security and peace of mind are important

“I remember my first renting experience being a couple that were in my place for five years while I was travelling in the Philippines on a business trip and what I did really like was that they left a lovely note to me as the owner, saying ‘thank you, we really enjoyed your home’. It’s a win-win: I give them the opportunity to enjoy London via local eyes, and they give me an opportunity to share my place, and hospitality, while I’m out. It’s nice to feel you are part of their positive experience of London.”

So how do you donate to charity?

“When I moved to London I was quite surprised about how many windows would not have a light after dark. I realised that’s an indication of how many people have a property in London but would not necessarily live in these properties. I thought, ‘oh my gosh!’ This is such a dynamic city and there are so many people that would love to come. This is such a missed opportunity because if you have a place why not share it with others? If you would like to support something that you passionately believe in, as I do with charities, why would you not use this? It doesn’t necessarily have to be a charity – you can do whatever suits your values. You can raise money that will make this world a better place for all of us. I do a number of charity activities, such as painting, to raise funds, and I came across this sharing-your-place opportunity and I immediately thought ‘that’s a nice way for me to increase my charity fundraising’. For me it’s a win-win solution.”

The charities

Liz has supported a range of charities, changing the recipient of her donations each year to reflect their areas of interest. She has so far supported larger charities which have many ongoing projects, although is reaching out to smaller organisations too, such as one helping younger children with cancer.

“It’s a big personal topic for me: my mum passed away because of cancer, as did other relatives, and 11 years ago I personally had a battle with cancer. For me it’s immensely important to do whatever I can to contribute to the fight against it, and hopefully to witness the day when we find the reason behind why the disease happens, and find the way to beat this one.”

Helping in other ways

Liz takes part in a number of activities to raise funds. These include painting, such as around Christmas when she sells a number of works to people who donate what they want. She also volunteers in a hospice which supports those suffering from cancer.

For more information about our charity partners and how you can effortlessly support your chosen charity by letting out your home, please see our charities page.

With thanks to Liz for the interview.