Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Where your money goes

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  • Sarah Horth,

    Craig, it did freak me out the first time I cycled past but friends did explain the problem and why they hide behind masks.

    There is definitely diverse street life here - not sure why, lots of people yelling at themselves, lots of panhandling, plenty of eccentrics and old hippies perhaps burnt out on one too many acid trips. It doesn't seem the best climate for living on the streets but maybe because the people here are quite liberal. Great place to visit, good salmon, interesting non-MSM, lots of people looking like they are about to go hiking while being extremely polite and friendly - don't let me put you off :)

    Seattle • Since Aug 2009 • 44 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    PA - driving the news cycle...
    Ripped from today's Press front page story...

    In his Public Address blog yesterday, media commentator Russell Brown questioned why $1.5 million of the $1.95m raised by KidsCan organisations in the year to December 2008 went in operating costs, leaving 19 cents in the dollar for its charitable programmes.

    What place does the Blog have in modern media, eh? I hope Fairfax is paying you a news-feed fee :- )

    yrs scoopily
    Jimmy Olsen
    still in the darkroom...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 4678 posts Report Reply

  • JLM,

    Gosh Russell, you sound so reasonable. Why can't you be black or white like everyone else!

    Judy Martin's southern sl… • Since Apr 2007 • 227 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Gosh Russell, you sound so reasonable. Why can't you be black or white like everyone else!

    Heh. It's odd having to do something like that when it's just something I've written in my blog, rather a fully-fledged story (and when I have other people waiting on my paying work!).

    But yes, I do try and remain aware of nuance and bear in mind that there might be more than one side to the story. Crazy, I know ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18709 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    They try everything, yesterday it was stepping in front of me and then trying to shake my hand with a big grin. Mostly it is asking you a question that if you say no to you feel bad:

    They where doing that in sydney when I was last there. But without the clip boards. I was told its called 'cold biting': " Got five bucks? I need a drink" hard to argue with that? I very quickly started looking unpredictable.

    Next there will be well dressed junkies on street corners, with bill boards, that contain photos of what might happen to somebody that doesn't support the next fix.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2587 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    don't let me put you off :)

    Don't worry -- the city fathers don't need to put out a hit on you quite yet. Despite incubating the virus that is Starbucks, Seattle is the home of one of my favourite indie comix publishers (Fantagraphics) and they have a store, a pilgrimage to Snoqualmie is obligatory for every David Lynch fan, and random weirdness is always easier to take in foreign climes. :)

    Ripped from today's Press front page story...

    And Russell also did very nicely on Nine to Noon a few minutes ago -- personfully resisting the urge to snark "I did some research - try it." :)

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11865 posts Report Reply

  • Brickley Paiste,

    Rick,

    I think its really commendable that you've agreed to do what you're donig and I look forward to reading your post.

    My question -- and I apologise if someone has already asked this -- is what arrangement exists between the charity, Adidas and the schools, if any? Is there a contract or an MOU? If it isn't either of those, what, if anything, is written down to manage the relationship between the three entities?

    Thanks again.

    Since Mar 2009 • 163 posts Report Reply

  • Brickley Paiste,

    Oh Brickley. You are *so* That Guy.

    Oh, Danielle, if only you really meant that.

    Since Mar 2009 • 163 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    If this was a business and not a charity pulling heart strings, I'd have no problem with a 20% profit.
    Since its not your comparison seems somewhat pointless.

    Fact is Kyle that these companies that "Maximise" your charities income are business'. They use every trick in the book to guilt you into giving to whoever gave them the contract, established charities receive more from direct donations than campaigns. A job is a job. One of the things that bothers me is that if the marketing company is not a registered charity then the Govt. grabs some of that charity money as tax and gives it to the wealthy but that is another story.

    The wireless north ;-) • Since Dec 2006 • 4670 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    Russell: I caught you on the old steam radio this morning, just as I was stepping out the door. I subsequently missed my bus but it was worth it. Good stuff!

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2285 posts Report Reply

  • Jan Logie,

    Having manged a few 'charities' I feel quite mixed in my reaction to this article.

    On one hand I think the proof of need is a much more important question than the amount that is being spent on admin.

    I am also conscious though that there are organisations out there that are able to garner wide public support because their cause is essentially conservative and they spend alot to make alot. The revolutionary in me baulks at that.

    But I also think charities are an easy target for criticism from people who have no idea how tough it is to raise money in such a crowded competitive environment. Nobody really wants to fund core functions or infrastructure but without them the other work can't happen.

    Private companies generally (obviously not exclusively) only support specific projects, and govt and philanthropic trusts increasingly only fund specific functions and limit overheads to around 12%. Who will pay for the building, the advocacy work, the community networking? Who acknowledges the voluntary hours? There needs to be an acknowledgement of the social good inherant in the voluntary processes as well as the 'product'?

    If you want a system to compare organisations then at the least the assumptions behind this needs to be transperant - including voluntary and in-kind contributions in income and expenditure, and a clear defintion of what is administration, as well as a way of measuring primary and secondary outcomes.

    Having worked in a university environment I know that they can often claim over 100% in overheads on staff hours in research grants. I have no argument with this but the looking at charities out of context does rile me.

    Since Aug 2009 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    I'm annoyed that the term "charities" has crept back in over the last five years (taken from the UK as part of our govt setting up the new Commission, I believe).

    I prefer "NGOs" or "non-profit organisations" or suchlike that have a broader feel to them, and less of the begging, forelock tugging, volunteerism about them. It does make some impact on the conversation.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16489 posts Report Reply

  • Sophie Wilson,

    Does the charity identify need or is it just handing out branded goods?

    For those asking this question in this thread, I share your concern. I can't help but wonder who is going to benefit more out of this telethon: Adidas & KidsCan, or the kids?

    What's leftover from the exorbitant overheads looks like a pitiful contribution to treating the symptoms of poverty in this country.

    If you've seen Enjoy Poverty, I'm not making direct connection, but there's a scene in a Unicef refugee camp where their logo's are everywhere. It's a sideways view into a strange ecosystem held together by middle class guilt.

    Of course there's a need, I grew up in a community full of need, but to treat it in this way may put poverty in danger of sustaining it's need?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2007 • 13 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    MSD's Office for the Community and Voluntary Sector published a summary of contributions by sub-sectors, drawing on "satellite accounts" work that tries to demonstrate the sector's economic value. More links at bottom of page.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16489 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    I'm going to have a do a turnaround after reading those accounts (financial thereof). You raise over a million dollars and you distribute less than $100,000 of it? That's not on.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3123 posts Report Reply

  • andin,

    I prefer "NGOs" or "non-profit organisations" or suchlike that have a broader feel to them, and less of the begging, forelock tugging, volunteerism about them.

    I'm waiting for the day world leaders decide to disarm completely and turn all their armies into peace corps which are sent around the world (armed with the latest technology of course) to combat drought, poverty, housing shortages, and easily solved medical problems starting in the countries most affected.

    Some say I'm a dreamer or a

    old hippies perhaps burnt out on one too many acid trips.

    Although I only had one proper acid trip and that was courtesy of The Bear.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1175 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    Mostly it is asking you a question that if you say no to you feel bad:

    "Do you care about global warming?"

    A dude tried that with me on Courtenay Place.

    Dude: "Do you care about children?"
    Robyn: "No."

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1851 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    I like that "cake stall to buy bombers" concept myself..

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16489 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    "Do you care about children?"

    Whose?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16489 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Actually, your answer would avoid an unwanted conversation better, Robyn.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16489 posts Report Reply

  • Sam F,

    I like that "cake stall to buy bombers" concept myself..

    Phew, for a minute there I wondered if i was the only one who remembered that line.

    But it's been done.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1550 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    Dude: "Do you care about children?"
    Robyn: "No."

    I'm sending your details to a market research company.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2587 posts Report Reply

  • Mike Graham,

    You are not alone Sam - I remember that line on a poster at VUW in the late 70's!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 199 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Litterick,

    We had a copy of that poster at the Ministry of Defence. here is a modern version.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1000 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    During a mid-80s telethon a couple of reps from Chelsea sugar took to the studio stage to announce their corporate contribution, along with a challenge to "all other sugar companies" to match their largesse. In the present climate hopefully such corporate BS won't be allowed to pass unchallenged. While there just might be rival sugar suppliers out there today for all I know, back in that era CSR were a shameless monopoly.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 3376 posts Report Reply

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