Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Where your money goes

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  • Paul Litterick,

    Interesting that Maxim beneficiaries are listed as "children/young people"

    Someone is having a quiet joke here .

    No, at least not a funny one. Maxim officially is an educational charity, a status it justifies by publishing pamphlets on the state of education.

    Note also that the location at 49 Cape Horn Rd Hillsborough is the former home of Keith Hay and one of the officers is Jeanette Hay.

    The Keith Hay Family Trust provides his place free of charge to Maxim.

    Their fourth biggest donor is Middleton Grange School.

    Guess what? Bruce Logan was Headmaster of Middleton Grange. When he set up Maxim, the school provided offices. These were closed after that unfortunate business of Mr Logan's essays being largely written by others

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1000 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    They are using television after all to push their stuff -- a device which if used properly will make you fat, stupid and incapable of concentrating on anything except your next purchase.

    Oh Brickley. You are *so* That Guy.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3655 posts Report Reply

  • jeremy gray,

    Another "ex greenpeacer" but even worse, I was on door to door.
    The first thing to mention is that in NZ only greenpeace and amnesty employ their own fundraisers - everyone else (save the children, red cross) is run by companies which normally take the first year or so of donations.

    We were paid a base rate of $12, raising to $16 if we hit our targets ($8 worth of monthly donations per hour), so 2 months on average would pay the wages. The average length of membership is about 2 years, so there is a high return. They were pretty ruthless with firing people who missed their targets consistently.

    The proportion that goes to actual work versus fundraising was on a little pie chart you carry around in your clipboard, ask the next one to see it.

    point chev • Since Apr 2008 • 43 posts Report Reply

  • J Debreceny,

    I do think more transparency is needed in the sector, especially where there are 'competing' charities.

    But I think you have to be careful comparing 'admin' costs. If the charity provides a service then admin costs will be high. An example is a community law centre (disclosure: I used to work for one) where wages will make up the bulk of the costs.

    In that sense you need to consider like with like. You could look at how many clients a charity is providing services for per $. Then you need to consider quality. Advice for some clients might take weeks if not months, others might only need 5 minutes. And cut rate services may not be useful for clients.

    There is also a real danger in insisting in low admin costs. Many charities suffer from poor 'management' because of the reluctance to fund admin. Some charities may well need more admin not less.

    For e.g. charities end up creating new projects because you can get funding for those and then try to recover some costs to pay for admin. If they could get admin funding, they would spend less time working on new projects and more time on their core role.

    I also think government needs to be very careful in backing one group over another. Often people who have been working on an issue for years miss out to shiny new groups with a more 'positive' attitude.

    Wellington • Since Aug 2009 • 2 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason,

    Sorry Mathew

    Re Fire Service. I meant that a similar service should/could be set up for Helicopter Rescues rather than under the umbrella of the NZFS. Acronym selection NFG.

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1496 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    KidsCan - It was a dark and stormy night...
    Those All Black Raincoats (with tiny white Adidas and AB logos on the front) don't seem like a particularly well thought out garment - maybe there is a fluorescent stripe on the back I can't see - otherwise they seem a liability for kids at night in stormy weather - kids should be seen, not herded and branded!

    yrs reflectively
    A. Mackintosh
    you got a light Mac?
    No, but I've got a black
    plastic overcoat...
    (thanks Viv!)

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 4954 posts Report Reply

  • Sam M,

    The thing I don't get with all the street charity worker people is that if I want to donate to a charity, why don't I just go to its website and sign-up there - no commission to pay. My wife and I make monthly donations to Women's Refuge and Oxfam, and both were easy as pie to set up directly. No involvement of a paid intermediary necessary.

    I remember when I lived in England that a new government run scheme was set up where folk could nominate charities through their workplace to donate to and the donation was automatically taken out of your wages - PRE-TAX! I could donate 20 quid at a cost substantially less than that. Sure beats remembering to do tax returns here to achieve the same result. I would love to see that in NZ.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 42 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    The thing I don't get with all the street charity worker people is that if I want to donate to a charity, why don't I just go to its website and sign-up there - no commission to pay. My wife and I make monthly donations to Women's Refuge and Oxfam, and both were easy as pie to set up directly. No involvement of a paid intermediary necessary.

    You've actually just answered your own question -- you and your wife actively had to decide to navigate the website and so on. What really bugs me about those clippies (though not so much with the street collectors like for the Women's Refuge appeal, who I understand are briefed NOT to be too pushy) is that they're playing on people's instincts not to snarl "get the fuck out of my face" and barging on. Don't know about anyone else, but no matter how justified you are in pushing on, it still feels kind of mean -- and I damn resent being played like that.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11989 posts Report Reply

  • Rick Shera,

    Hi everyone. I usually post here on ICT and legal matters (particularly with respect to copyright, s92A etc).

    However, I now find myself with the ideal opportunity to respond to a group that will listen to facts about KidsCan Charitable Trust, since I am the chairman of that charity.

    I do not want to just hand this off to someone else because I think that when issues like this are raised, people deserve to hear from the board, whose job it is to try to ensure that things like ethics, good governance and ... well ... old fashioned common sense, are adhered to. So what I've agreed with Russell is that I will collate the questions and comments that you have all raised (which, like Russell's original entry, I think are perfectly legitimate) and then try to answer them as best I can in one hit in a guest blog. Chairing KidsCan is not my day job but I'd like to think that we can get that organised for posting later tomorrow.

    So, if anyone has any other comments/questions about KidsCan or the Big Night In Telethon, post them here and I will answer them as best I can.

    Auckland • Since Feb 2008 • 22 posts Report Reply

  • Mahal,

    they're playing on people's instincts not to snarl "get the fuck out of my face" and barging on.

    I work in Auckland's CBD, and I am afraid I have been guilty of the above a few times. Usually the days I've been hounded by some wonk with a clipboard four times (two corners on the way out of work up the street to get something to eat, then on the way back).

    I do give to the occasional polite collector-with-a-bucket. Sadly, one ex-serviceman utterly lost my respect on Anzac day, via haranguing me to donate when I was waiting for a pedestrian crossing light to go green. Apparently I was a liar and an example of today's Horrible Disrespectful Yoof, all because I had politely said "I'm sorry, I don't have any cash".

    I was already wearing a poppy.

    Auckland • Since Apr 2007 • 31 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Just pointing y'all two posts up to what Rick said.

    Ask away, because I have a lot to do tomorrow, then I'm out of town -- so I'd like to get it happening asap.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18881 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    Mahal - I encountered that problem (a rude ex-serviceperson) in CHCH last year - and yes, I already had my poppy on too: they couldnt blame yooof (I'.m deservedly greyhaired) but maybe they didnt like my response to their 'for god, queen, and country' spiel-

    Anzac collections I dont even think of as charity...I used to donate a bit to Women's Refuges movement until- o never mind.

    Rick Shera: tena koe. Several people have already indicated they'd prefer to bypass the promotion/telemarketeer stuff in favour of a website: given that very few of my -quite large -whanau watch tv (and none of us watched 'Big Night In'), this could be an avenue for your organisation to look at.

    The given administration & promotion costs are *totally excessive* to my mind- the Epilepsy Foundation lost a good contributor whom I know well, when their 'cut' was revealed.- and I suspect you will lose follow-up donations now too.

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    post them here and I will answer them as best I can.

    Do you lobby the government for these necessities? Why was it necessary to plug in politicians when as seen up thread, some take issue with the fact that we have poverty in this country, and at present some of our most vulnerable are having funding cuts. Was all sponsorship branding part of the final donations, and did they pay for the right of advertising? That'll do for now, thanks

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6195 posts Report Reply

  • John Holley,

    The first thing to mention is that in NZ only greenpeace and amnesty employ their own fundraisers - everyone else (save the children, red cross) is run by companies which normally take the first year or so of donations.

    Absolutely not true Jeremy! I worked for the RNZFB and they absolutely have their own fund raisers, as do quite a few other charities.

    What I do know is that, again from when I was at the RNZFB, the cost of fundraising was about 20% of funds raised. The target was to keep it below that. (This is all reported in their accounts). If more than 30 cents of what you donate in every dollar go to admin/fundraising costs you should look carefully at the charity. As an aside, groups like Rotary , often have admin/fundraising costs of 50-70% of funds raised.

    The question to ask a charity is what is their fundraising ratio? (especially long established charities -it's harder for new charities.)

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 120 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    I must admit I'm of an age where I spent my teenage years staring Vietnam and the draft in the face - with the gung-ho pro-war mob from the then RSA staring back - poppies mean a whole different thing to me - yes I know things have changed but I can't wear one

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2150 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    Paul Campbell - I *protested * against the Vietnam war (as a teenager) - but I loathed the RSA's attitude towards Viet vets (and people like a senior service cousin who objected to nuclear testing.)
    However, I still think generations later than the 1st & 2nd WWs should make sure all service personnel (including the nurses, thanks) die in a warm compatible bed, especially those who wind up in Veteran's Homes-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    yes I know things have changed but I can't wear one

    I once had an argument with a friend about wearing poppies because she was very Right On (TM) and believed they were all about 'glorifying war'.

    When I buy a poppy I think about death, waste, mud, tragedy, stupidity and unimaginable sadness and horror. I don't buy them because I think war is awesome, but because I think it's terrible, and it's good to be reminded about that stuff once a year or so. YMMV, etc.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3655 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    There are many remarkable - as in stunning- poems, autobiographies,
    unofficial histories of both those totally vicious/wasteful/vile conflicts.
    The first WW was remarkable because it was ancient bulls clashing dying horns- the second was a clash between panhuman-oriented & anti-panhuman regimes and...necessary. Sadly, I dont think that one is truly over yet.

    Anyway. Poppies. Remembrance. Thankfulness we are here, and why we are here, in the shining bright land. Awareness of elsewhere, and what happens there. And warning.

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    Islander - I mostly agree - but I also think that looking after soldiers should be a function of government, not something they should be begging for on the street.

    Of course as Dannielle says poppies don't glorify war but the horror of it

    For me it's all just a very visceral thing, all mixed in with teenage angst and memories of high school bullying, fear of nuclear armageddon and the like - being terrified by Muldoon and his mob and what they might do to me as I came of age i.e. being drafted and sent to Vietnam to die (even though at that point you still had to volunteer to be sent everyone just knew it was only a matter of time before the draft was changed to force us to go) - it was something I laid awake and worried about for years

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2150 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    BTW moving to the US at age 25 and getting a green card I also avoided having to register for their draft by 6 months - a lot of those 'american' kids who died in Vietnam weren't even citizens of the US

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2150 posts Report Reply

  • Rachel Cunliffe,

    Hi Rick,

    Here's some questions I have:

    Who initiated this year's Telethon?* KidsCan or TV3?

    "87% of costs for running Telethon were covered thru corporate sponsorship cash & in-kind. A small amount of $ will be used 4 running costs." - @TelethonNZ

    How much of the $1944225 will go to KidsCan? I.e. is some of this held back for running costs? (13% = $253,000?)

    How much of the money raised for KidsCan will go on the actual programmes vs other charity expenses? Will it be 19% as per the last financial year?

    What was the cost to build the Big Night In website and was this paid for by Kids Can or TV3?

    Many thanks,
    Rachel

    http://www.throng.co.nz

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 8 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    Mahal - I encountered that problem (a rude ex-serviceperson) in CHCH last year - and yes, I already had my poppy on too: they couldnt blame yooof (I'.m deservedly greyhaired) but maybe they didnt like my response to their 'for god, queen, and country' spiel-

    I think one of the major problems with this sort of charity collection is that people (especially people my age or younger) genuinely *don't* have cash on them very often these days. I never, ever do, unless I've got it out specially to top up my bus card or...pretty much never. I don't have a lot of spare money, but I wouldn't mind giving my spare change now and again; I just never have any. I imagine this must be a barrier to casual donation for a lot of people, I just can't work out how you remove it without changing people's money habits in a pretty major fashion.

    Amherst, MA • Since Nov 2006 • 2093 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    I forgot Rick wore that hat as well. Excellent.

    The question to ask a charity is what is their fundraising ratio? (especially long established charities -it's harder for new charities.)

    Few questions, any level of detail appreciated if possible:

    1) How much of the (let's agree, high) overhead described above is because Kids Can is quite young?

    2) To what extent did that leverage into the offsetting sponsorship for the Telethon (eg: early spend to establish ongoing relationships)?

    3) What is the ratio over the lifetime of the organisation so far, and perhaps projecting forward over the spend period of the Telethon income?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16659 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Throng graphs viewership numbers during Telethon. I must have been part of the spike at about 1.30am.

    What was the cost to build the Big Night In website

    Less than the Mission On site. :)

    I take it cre8d wasn't approached, then, Rachel?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16659 posts Report Reply

  • st ephen,

    I've often wondered why it is that when celebs or newly rich do-gooders decide to pump a bit of their money into a charity, they invariably set up their own from scratch. I thought it was just an ego thing, but the revelation that you can keep 80% of the money collected from dopey punters as "operating expenses" suggests that they just know a good business deal when they see one.

    dunedin • Since Jul 2008 • 202 posts Report Reply

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