Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Where your money goes

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  • vangam,

    I find it disturbing that charities operate in a *competitive* environment. Perhaps that is the whole problem - they are not charities in the traditional sense of the word, they seem more like businesses?

    Rangiora • Since Jun 2007 • 103 posts Report Reply

  • Rick Shera,

    Hi everyone.

    Well - best laid plans and all that!

    But, unfortunately, as happened to Russell, the way in which this story was broken, with traditional media picking it up from PA before KidsCan even had a chance to comment properly, has meant that all my time has been taken up today and I have not had a chance to come back here. I think I saw a post earlier on about the way in which traditional media feeds off blogs - I can now attest to that!

    I know Russell is out of Auckland tomorrow so I expect that we will not be able to get anything up as soon as we would have liked but it is still my intention to try to answer on PA the main questions that have been raised here in due course.

    Like Russell, I also have my own work to attend to so hopefully you will bear with me for a little while. Thanks everyone also for the thoughtful and reasoned debate - much appreciated.

    Rick Shera
    Chair
    KidsCan Charitable trust

    Auckland • Since Feb 2008 • 22 posts Report Reply

  • Ping,

    But the police school safety advisors are telling us not to to put the children in dark coloured raincoats, as drivers (especially when raining) find it harder to see little people in dark colours

    True.

    I don't think the kids would really care what colour they were... although older boys might struggle with pink (unless you're making an anti-fashion fashion statement - or something).

    I think it's black with a fern so it looks like All Black gear - which ADIDAS sponsor no..?

    Auckland • Since Jul 2009 • 10 posts Report Reply

  • Dave Nicholas,

    Hi Rick,

    "still my intention to try to answer on PA the main questions that have been raised here in due course."

    That does sound a little less than committed to a prompt and comprehensive response you promised yesterday.

    KidsCan does good stuff, the dial simply needs to be turned from the business itself to the beneficiaries. You and the exec team need to front very solidly on this before the public goodwill that exists is eroded by the glare of media attention. Do the right thing.

    Since Nov 2006 • 12 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    That does sound a little less than committed to a prompt and comprehensive response you promised yesterday.

    lol

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 5923 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    Did Close Up acknowledge where the story originated? It seemed to me that they were taking criedit for raising the issues, in a rather self-satisfied fashion.

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2268 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    all my time has been taken up today and I have not had a chance to come back here

    That was my suspicion as soon as I saw CloseUp had flogged the story - (streaming, 11 mins).

    Rick, the way you described the in-kind contributions the last of the several times Sainsbury asked was much better. I trust you noticed that the word "value" doesn't work, whereas saying that sponsors are contributing stuff like the products and their delivery did. Similarly good to hear what your staff actually do.

    Maybe be a bit firmer with the $1.5 million estimate as long as you make clear it still needs to be calculated properly.

    As a non-accountant you have my best wishes working with the Charities Commission and others on making future accounts that we can all follow. Councils and Government* can be quite good at showing graphically where their income and expenditure go, so it's not impossible.

    * but not Te Budget.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16275 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    It seemed to me that they were taking criedit for raising the issues, in a rather self-satisfied fashion.

    That fashion may just be part of the show and of TVNZ in general. Smug for no good reason is a phrase that easily unites Paul Henry and Wendy Petrie, for instance.

    To be fair, Close Up had done that earlier story - but today's does seem beyond coincidental. Hi there, all you ethically-challenged journos and opportunistic researchers. At least have the balls to say hello.

    Wonder what would happen if someone stripped all the branding out of one of their clips and recycled it unattributed for profit..

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16275 posts Report Reply

  • martin adlington,

    this really interesting, as a volunteer at the spca i see a well-paid management structure & wonder how much "bang for our buck" we get from them...many volunteers give very many hours of unpaid time....as a member of lions i spent 4 hours last sat raising money for kidscan - if only one hour of this time & money actually went to kids i am going to create some very serious damage - kidscam rather!!!...please keep the info going re this story as the whole charity thing is beginning to smell rather badly, & i for one am ready to tip some fat cats into boiling water....

    auckland • Since Aug 2009 • 2 posts Report Reply

  • martin adlington,

    mate, your reply had better be good - as a donor i expect full accountability from you, & please do do not fudge the figures by including donations in kind etc - just tell us where the money goes, business is business but kidscan has better not be a kidscam...

    auckland • Since Aug 2009 • 2 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Savidge,

    @Sacha. Long time reader, get your own show :)

    Smug for no good reason

    Oooooooh...it does get in.

    Somewhere near Wellington… • Since Nov 2006 • 310 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    St Johns - I hate the religious bit, but I *really* like the volunteer aspect (as well as the paid people)bit...Foundation for the Blind (I refuse to use the 'royal' bit) -works very well with a mix of considerable volunteer help,non-money gifts (e.g most ANZ writers donate reading rights to them) and a paid administration & professional people (actor readers & paramedics.) It would be interesting to compare them with what seem to be - businesses. Buisnesses that employ/utilise telemarketeers. Businesses that are not primarily directed to helping specific groups (the blind/near blind or those needing first aid - in all the broad range that covers.) Businesses that actually spend most of their money & time in setting up an organisation that uses - other businesses. Businesses which - let us be really frank - me be really frank- are actually trying to create a niche for themselves that real charities have covered for yonks: clothes & shoes? St Vincent de Paul's. Salvo's. Food parcels? Soup kitchens? City Missions.

    I hate religion - but I cheerfully acknowledge that the religious charity groups *work.* And I support them (in a low key way) where I will never support the telemarketeers et al.

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

  • Islander,

    Ooops - sorry! The paramedics obviously belong with St Johns:the actor readers, some of whom give their time, with Foundation for the Blind. Gawd, the rain, the rain, is getting to me-

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

  • Russell Brown,

    What did I start? ;-)

    But this, from Stuff ...

    KidsCan StandTall Charitable Trust chairman Rick Shera said in a statement that some of the recent commentary relates to historic KidsCan accounts that were filled with the Charities Commission as is required.

    While at first sight the conclusions that some have drawn from these accounts may seem the end of the story, it was not, he said.

    "The single most important factor - that a simplistic focus on financial accounts misses - is that KidsCan receives massive in-kind and non-cash support which it cannot account for under current charities and accounting standards law in New Zealand," Mr Shera said.

    He said if this money could be counted, as it had discussed with the Charities Commission, then the proportion of total contributions to KidsCan programmes would have been around 60 percent last year.

    These included in-kind and non-cash donations, which amounted to around $760,000 in 2008, he said.

    ... really doesn't work for me. Because I think what ordinary people want to know is where their money goes, and because it seems to imply that little or none of the actual near-$2m in cash raised actually paid for the provision or delivery of the raincoats, shoes and food which are the charity's ostensible key offering. I hope that's not the case.

    And my questions:

    - Invitation Only Events Ltd declared expenses of $62,000 as "cost of sales" paid to the Doug Howlett Foundation Charitable Trust, which shared an address with KidsCan, two of whose three trustees are Julie Helson and Carl Sunderland, who received "small salaries" from the trust. What services did the Howlett Trust provide? And can you declare these salaries to us?

    - Does anyone employed by the KidsCan Trust derive additional income from any of its activities; for example, management fees for events promoted by Invitation Only Events Ltd?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18512 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Michael, I'm confused. Are you saying I should be less or more savage?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16275 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Or just better remunerated? :)

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16275 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    I congratulate Stuff's Michael Field for acknowledging Russell.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16275 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Especially if he's reading my earlier comment. Actually if any journos are..

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16275 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Savidge,

    Recognition bro.

    Money ain't nothing in particular.

    Somewhere near Wellington… • Since Nov 2006 • 310 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Thank you, sir. Votes of confidence worth more than gold any day.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16275 posts Report Reply

  • Amy Gale,

    Here is my question:

    Can a person who gives money to KidsCan expect it to go further than it would if the person just spent that money buying some raincoats and gave them to the local decile 1 school for distribution?


    (disclaimer: I don't currently live in NZ and I don't expect to be donating to KidsCan either way.)

    tha Ith • Since May 2007 • 451 posts Report Reply

  • Dave Nicholas,

    Russell: are we now contemplating undeclared related party transactions in an under-regulated sector?

    Sound familiar anyone?

    Since Nov 2006 • 12 posts Report Reply

  • Dave Nicholas,

    The financial report of Invitation Only Events states expenses of $62,000 paid to the Doug Howlett Foundation Charitable Trust in 2008.

    There is no mention of that income in the financial report of the DHFCT for the same year. Where'd it go?

    Perhaps an officer of one or both of those companies could step forward - Julie - Carl - Rick?

    Since Nov 2006 • 12 posts Report Reply

  • James W,

    While I'm as interested in the breakdown of where the money goes as everyone else here, I think it's a little cynical to criticise KidsCan's purpose of giving food, raincoats and shoes to schoolkids. One of the biggest hurdles people have with problems like poverty is the impression that the problem is too big, there is nothing the ordinary citizen can do. So while the larger cause of poverty will always come down to government policy, I'm a fan of simpler short-term solutions like KidsCan's because it's an achievable, measurable goal. It's an example of how the ordinary citizen can make a difference. That the raincoats are branded and the food good advertising for the companies providing it is unfortunately part of the commercial world we live in. And yes, it might well be cheaper for me to buy the raincoats myself and pop down to the school and hand them out, but seriously, how many people are going to do that? Surely one organisation to centralise it is better.

    Since Jul 2008 • 122 posts Report Reply

  • Ping,

    ... really doesn't work for me.

    Me neither.

    <quote> "The single most important factor - that a simplistic focus on financial accounts misses - is that KidsCan receives massive in-kind and non-cash support which it cannot account for under current charities and accounting standards law in New Zealand," Mr Shera said.<quote>

    Currious statement. So are the charities and accounting standards laws broken OR have the clever ways to by-pass them - the unaccountable ways - become so common place no one looks at financial accounts as an reliable indication of what's going where anymore? Maybe the new accounting system measures in audience size, front page space and little black windbreakers...

    Auckland • Since Jul 2009 • 10 posts Report Reply

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