Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Where your money goes

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  • DeepRed,

    And what of political lobby groups that think they're charities, like For The Sake Of Our Children, and the Sensibles? Greenpeace could also count, but at least it's generally open about who finances it.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 3893 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    If I were to price a job, of almost any kind, as 25% wages 25% expenses/materials and 50% profit I would consider it "Skimming" So, surely an 80/20 split is not outrageous considering the "product" is just the feel good factor of giving?.

    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.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6145 posts Report Reply

  • Tim McKenzie,

    But surely you can see that there's a problem here with where the money actually goes?

    Oh, yes. And the suggestion about publishing ratios is a good one. You already mentioned Charity Navigator, which I often use when I'm giving to US-based charities. I'd love a New Zealand version.

    The main point of my first comment was a general theoretical comment, rather than a specific one. But it's a theoretical point that has a practical consequence: I give more to charities because I believe that voluntary welfare is better than the compulsory kind --- all other things being equal. (I still don't give much to charities, though, since I'm on a student allowance (a beneficiary of the compulsorily-funded welfare system), but I'm trying to train myself in the habit of philanthropy.)

    Lower Hutt • Since Apr 2007 • 107 posts Report Reply

  • Brickley Paiste,

    Really interestin Russell, thanks.

    What about the fact that all religious institutions get charitable status? Mormons. Catholic schools. The Maximum Institute.

    Remove their status and get them to pay rates and, like someone said, the Women's Refuge could cancel their annual appeal.

    I think all charitable trusts are exceptions as it is to the rule against purpose trusts. So just eliminate their purpose.

    All it would take is an Act of Parliament under the protection of s4 of the NZ Bill of Rights Act 1990.

    The corporate aspect of Kids whatever thingy on TV is a lesser concern. 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.

    Since Mar 2009 • 163 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    And what of political lobby groups that think they're charities, like For The Sake Of Our Children, and the Sensibles?

    Fair question, Deep Red, and I've long been an advocate of a public register of lobbyists (and statutory disclosure of who pays their bills), but I don't want to jack the thread.

    Greenpeace could also count, but at least it's generally open about who finances it.

    Up to a point, but those damn people with clipboards who always corner you when you're running to catch a bus really get on my tits. Hope they're a cost-effective recruiting mechanism, because they just make me want to go slap a whale. :)

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11614 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Hope they're a cost-effective recruiting mechanism, because they just make me want to go slap a whale. :)

    It's funny because it's true ....

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 17917 posts Report Reply

  • Brickley Paiste,

    Man, we're all pikers!!

    Since Mar 2009 • 163 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    We'll have a response from one of the KidsCan trustees soon.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 17917 posts Report Reply

  • Glenn Pearce,

    Hope they're a cost-effective recruiting mechanism

    According to Close-Up last week on this topic, they are the worst of the worst. It can be up to a years worth of your Direct Credits before the Charity sees any of it.

    Auckland • Since Feb 2007 • 342 posts Report Reply

  • Claire Sawyers,

    Perhaps the Govt's best play would be providing a centralised, free source to market charities. www.charities.nz or similar with a big billboard, TV etc campaign behind it

    Perhaps the government could arrange for some support for the already existing, completely free, charitable resource website which does that, DonateNZ, link here, which allows people to find, support and donate to community organisations.

    The site services 800 charities presently and development wise, we are sitting on a huge pile of things designed to beef up our service and solve some of these sector problems, but work is on hold because we can not secure any funding to do so.

    Since incorporating as a charity DonateNZ has had 16 out of 16 funding applications denied due to "lack of funds". Government funds wise, the community sector funding has been cut right across the Digital Strategy budget as well as the sustainability and environmental sector (to organisations such as EnviroSchools and Sustainable Business Network) and we have been turned away from Paula Bennett's additional social services relief fund. Pokie funds have proved illusive also, applying to a lot of them and being turned away for the same "lack of funds" reasons, only to find out later in the media that they have had their funds frozen for some time due to misappropriation. There is a couple of others which have not yet been named, but similarly, are not able to distribute. Its not just us having problems, in a survey to our members recently over 85% of charity respondents are having problems sustaining funding from their regular providers.

    DonateNZ is currently existing solely on the goodwill of the trustees (my parents), I'm working completely voluntarily ful ltime and its very hard to move forward, or in any direction really, until we secure funding of some sort. It frustrates me, as if more funding was available we would be able to make the site a thriving community portal which could reduce the demand on funders (by gaining of donations of things, charities wouldnt have to apply for funding as often) and help bring charity out of the shadows, make them more publicly available, reduce duplication of services, increase their accountability and create self sufficient organisations. Think it's not needed? Consider the fact there's there's estimated to be over 100,000 charities operating in this country. Most people can only name about 10.

    It makes me sick when I see and hear of Pokie Trusts misappropriating funds to horse racing club stakes, while amazing services such as DonateNZ with proven track records are turned away. While the Ministry might have cleaned up the industry a while back, there is still a huge amount of shonkiness in the industry, and I think a centralised management system such as the Sue Bradford proposed is the only option.

    Looks like we could do with a local equivalent of:
    Charity Navigator

    There is a group of people in Auckland attempting to set up a similar Charity Navigator like site, called "Knowledge for Good" which we hope to work together with. Similarly, they are seeking funding from government to begin work on this but thus far haven't been able to get anything concrete.

    Thanks for reading my rant, it's a topic rather close to my heart as you can imagine and something I see, hear and experience every day. If anyone believes in what I'm doing with the DonateNZ venture, please get in touch via the DonateNZ website. As I mentioned, I work completely voluntarily by myself on this cause and any support in any form is greatly appreciated.

    Auckland • Since Aug 2009 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • Lyndon Hood,

    I got the impression there was a chap on national radio talking about fundrasing overheads at the weekend.

    think he said if you were sign up by a chap in the street you'd be two years' membership paying that guy's wages.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1091 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    What about the fact that all religious institutions get charitable status? Mormons. Catholic schools. The Maximum Institute.

    Despite its extensive history of politicking, Maxim is indeed a registered charity.

    Its return shows $1.2 million in income last year, almost all of it in donations.

    Family First's return for the year to June 2008 shows $258,000 in income, almost all from donations, with $33,000 in grants from unspecified sources.

    Neither derived any income from membership fees. Both organisations, which like to depict themselves as the voice of the silent majority, have no membership.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 17917 posts Report Reply

  • B Jones,

    the No.1 Shoe Warehouse seems to supply the shoes

    F'r real? Because the first thing I thought of when I read that was the Vimes "Boots" theory of social injustice. No 1 shoes are cheap and fashionable but are made of sweaty vinyl and don't last much longer than a season, leading to more shoe purchasing being necessary over the long run.

    Then again, kids grow out of shoes pretty fast so it might not be worth getting actual leather ones now there's an alternative.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 724 posts Report Reply

  • Brickley Paiste,

    Despite its extensive history of politicking, Maxim is indeed a registered charity.

    Oops, Maxim not Maximum.

    Isn't its charitable purpose religious, though? Isn't that why they're members of the anti-bum sex brigade?

    Their first value appears to be transcendence.

    Since Mar 2009 • 163 posts Report Reply

  • Brickley Paiste,

    Neither derived any income from membership fees. Both organisations, which like to depict themselves as the voice of the silent majority, have no membership.

    Oooh, nice. I'm going to use that.

    Since Mar 2009 • 163 posts Report Reply

  • Raymond A Francis,

    I am now in the rather nice position to be able to give to charities
    The over haeds of most charities horrified us when we did the research
    We give (mostly) to a charity where the money is held for three years and the interest is used to pay for the infrastructure
    We also have some say on how and where the money will be used
    Unfortunatly while this model has worked well in the past, last years financial shake-outs have given a bit of a glitch
    But it does give a nice out to those telephone rings at tea time

    45' South • Since Nov 2006 • 520 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    . . . if you were sign up by a chap in the street you'd be two years' membership paying that guy's wages.

    Steven Crawford posted some interesting info re. Greenpeace the other day, particularly the claim that street pimps are paid $16 per hour. When I was a member of Greenpeace Australia $5 per week was deducted from my bank account. At that rate, it takes two years just to pay a day's wages to the person who signed you up.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 3291 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    Ooops - Wrongwrongwrong - it takes around six months. Still way too much.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 3291 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Curtis,

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

    Someone is having a quiet joke here .

    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.

    Just as well that under National all charitable donations will be tax deductible and not limited per person per year.
    So a right wing christian pro business lobby will do very well

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 183 posts Report Reply

  • barnaclebarnes,

    What the Charities Commission could do is open up the dataset so we can do the analysis ourselves. I tried to get a copy of the database but under the current law you can't even get a full list as it is written into the Act that set up the commission (This was due to privacy concerns AFAIK)

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 84 posts Report Reply

  • Jonathan Tillick,

    Is it better to just buy $100 worth of raincoats and gumboots and drop them off at the City Mission? With $20 donation to help with their costs?

    (And then I guess you try not to think about the young Chinese women working in some toxic rubber factory...)

    Auckland • Since Jun 2007 • 3 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Despite its extensive history of politicking, Maxim is indeed a registered charity.

    Its return shows $1.2 million in income last year, almost all of it in donations.

    It gets better! Their fourth biggest donor is Middleton Grange School. Private school, government funding, etc.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4285 posts Report Reply

  • James McCombe,

    I can't help but wonder...the Big Night In can't have been cheap to execute...wouldn't it have made more cents (see what I did there?) to just donate the money they spent running the thing instead of passing off a 23 hour ad as fundraising?

    I can't remember where I heard the numbers, it might've been 3 News itself.

    It cost about a million to make the telethon, but 90% of that was covered by the sponsors. No clue as to who fronted up with the last 10% - it might've been TV3 itself, or maybe KidsCan.

    CHCH • Since Aug 2009 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    At that rate, it takes two years just to pay a day's wages to the person who signed you up.

    I've worked in the past as a street fundraiser for Greenpeace, for about a year part time, and know that their business model worked on the basis that it took on average 8 months worth of membership for them to recoup membership cost (signing up more than 1 person per day). The mechanics are such that the average is several times that, and with a good percentage of members staying in it for the long term (5-20 years), it isn't a significant drag. They very strongly discouraged signing up anyone who wouldn't stay on.

    I donate to organisations who can demonstrate transparently where the money is going. They tend to be either rather small and therefore running on the smell of an oily rag, or rather large and with streamlined bureaucracies.

    The People's Republic of … • Since Nov 2006 • 2077 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    I find my answermachine blocks all telephone marketeers...

    And while I donate, when able, to NZ Foundation for the Blind, St John's, the Cancer Society, and the Arthritis Foundation, I rarely donate to any other charity. SAR occaisionally; Amnesty Int, ditto, but I am immune to appeals featuring cute kids or wounded animals (not because I think they shouldnt be helped but because I know very little , if any,
    of what I donate would ever actually get to either party...)

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

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