Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Where your money goes

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  • Dave Nicholas,

    Hi Rick,
    1) What criteria does KidsCan use to decide how much of total revenue/donations is disbursed to the actual charity programmes?
    2) Was the 19% from 2008 a target ratio or was it all that was left after "operating expenses"
    3) What has the ratio of revenue/donations to disbursements been in your previous years?
    4) Do you benchmark your revenue/disbursement ratio against other charity businesses?
    5) Is your model more efficient than other charity businesses?
    6) The KidsCan website offers many ways of donating eg provide gloves and thermals to a child for $25. How much of the $25 actually goes to the clothing?
    7) A number of the donation options allow a donor to choose the number of children they'd like to support, such as in 6) above. If I selected 3 children (ie a $75 donation) do three kids actually receive the gloves and thermals?
    8) If only a proportion of the money donated via an option like 6) actually goes to a child, is the website then deceptive?
    9) How do you set your plan and budget for spending on operating expenses each year?
    10) Who does the board of KidsCan feel more accountable to: the beneficiaries or the donors?

    I'm glad KidsCan provides the support it does to needy children. However it's not done in a transparent fashion via the website and donors can rightly feel let down, when the scale of operational spending is highlighted. The business appears to have itself as the major beneficiary, which I am sure is not the purpose for which it was established.

    I don't know how KidsCan stacks up against other charity businesses, but that's not the real issue. Give more to the kids.
    Dave Nicholas

    Since Nov 2006 • 12 posts Report Reply

  • Susan Snowdon,

    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

    I never carry cash on me either, and I'm not 'younger'. Eftpos, bus ticket, and coins in the car for parking seems to be all I need. I like the method of donating where a collector waits in a shop, like the Warehouse, and offers you the option of picking up a ticket which you hand in at the checkout with a purchase. It automatically includes a set eftpos donation. Easy to take and use the ticket, or take and not use. No hard sell, no embarrassment. Or when the supermarket checkout person asks if you'd like to donate a dollar for whatever good cause it is. Easy.

    Since Mar 2008 • 110 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    I rather like the Sea Shepherd's modus operandi when hustling for donations.

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    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4411 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    Or when the supermarket checkout person asks if you'd like to donate a dollar for whatever good cause it is. Easy.

    Wearing my retail worker hat: these schemes are great if and only if they're run for limited periods. I can safely assert that by the third week of "would you like to add a dollar?" customers range from impatient to aggressive, having usually been asked this question multiple times at multiple stores. It's not fun for anyone, especially the workers.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Pound,

    Hi Rick

    Thank you for the opportunity to ask questions.

    I would like to know:

    1 - How much does each raincoat cost to buy from Adidas?

    2 - Is a reduction given in the price for the raincoats and is this counted as a donation from Adidas?

    3 - What proportion of the near 2 million raised by Telethon will go on actual service delivery - can you give us a guaranteed figure?

    4 - Are you comfortable with the current proportion of overheads vs delivery of services?

    Thanks for engaging in this manner

    Regards
    Simon

    MFAK • Since Nov 2006 • 20 posts Report Reply

  • Ant Timpson,

    Hi Rick,

    Thanks for doing this.

    I would like to know :

    1 - Would it be possible to see the key personnel annual wages?

    2 - Does Adidas pay the charity any money to have thousands of walking billboards at schools throughout NZ?

    3 - To maintain the huge profile of this charity in the public eye, aren't some decisions compromised by the very fact that the charity now must maintain an ongoing high profile by spending a greater percentage of all revenue raised?

    4 - How does the Board feel about other charities that are now being overlooked by the public due to the domination of Kids Can in the charity arena?

    many thanks
    Ant

    AK • Since Mar 2008 • 12 posts Report Reply

  • Jose Barbosa,

    Just one question for Rick: does KidsCan have a strategy in place to reduce its marketing spend?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 64 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    Rick, how much did KidsCan get from Dancing with the Stars, and how did it get spent?

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3214 posts Report Reply

  • Kimberley Verburg,

    Regarding J Debreceny's concern for charities with high admin costs due to providing services, you could look at the amount spent on fundraising as well. Forex, in the Netherlands there's a certification scheme where, among other things, charities can't spend more than 25% on fundraising in order to qualify.

    Leiden • Since Jun 2007 • 27 posts Report Reply

  • Rachel Cunliffe,

    Hilary, in their financial statement they list the Dancing with the Stars donation as $22,576.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 8 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    Thanks, Rachel. That indicates that not much from each phone vote actually goes to the charity.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3214 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    Rick,

    How much did Platinum, Gold, and Silver sponsorship cost the sponsors, and what did those in each category receive in return for said sponsorship?

    Thanks for your time.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Ping,

    Has anybody identified any need for the raincoats and shoes that KidsCan provides? It looks to me like another opportunity for Adidas (which supplies the branded coats) to obtain yet more free publicity.

    Yes, and the No.1 Shoe Warehouse seems to supply the shoes, for its own promotional return. It can seem that the chief purpose of KidsCan is less to supply needed goods than to supply promotional opportunities.

    While I'm equally concerned about where all this money is going and how come it costs $1.5million to raise $400,000 - I have to admit, all the school's I've been to in south Auckland that get these raincoats, shoes, lunch boxes etc etc - the kids are all decked out in them. Whole classrooms of kids in the rain (more like windbreakers) coats.

    Is it free advertising? Probably, but they do look chuffed to have a little black raincoat with a silver fern on it. And the schools seem happy to have shoes to they can give to kids who turn up in with no shoes (that are visibly branded I don't think) in winter.

    Would it make it better if all the goods were un-branded or in the school's colours...?

    Auckland • Since Jul 2009 • 10 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    On helicopter ambulances, I have this sneaking suspicion that while it looks very wonderful to be able to swoop from the sky and snatch people from the jaws of death, it isn't actually a particularly cost effective use of health dollars. Obviously to the Jeremy Clarkson tendency, something loud and shiny is a better use of taxpayer dollars than community nurses, for instance - but in terms of actual outcomes, it might not be.

    Which is maybe why the air ambulance operations run mostly on charity rather than healthcare budgets.

    Interestingly, in Ireland the Air Corps does air ambulance work, as well as SAR and police support.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Litterick,

    Is it free advertising? Probably, but they do look chuffed to have a little black raincoat with a silver fern on it. And the schools seem happy to have shoes to they can give to kids who turn up in with no shoes (that are visibly branded I don't think) in winter

    Yes, but do they need this clothing? Would they be otherwise coatless and discalced? Does the charity identify need or is it just handing out branded goods?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1000 posts Report Reply

  • Rachel Cunliffe,

    Interesting comments about startup costs for new charities.

    If I'm reading it correctly, 25% went to the specific KidsCan programmes in 2006, 24% in 2007, and 19% in 2008?

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 8 posts Report Reply

  • Sarah Horth,

    I'm in the States at the moment and perhaps experiencing the future of the street hawkers for charities. In the city centre there are about two sets of these young guys and girls on every block with their clipboards.

    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:

    "Do you care about global warming?"

    I've got the hand wave and shake of the head gesture down pat. It's annoying because to walk downtown you are ambushed constantly, every 10 feet there is another one. I guess Americans are used to it.

    I don't know if this works in the long run as people are surely jaded?

    Seattle • Since Aug 2009 • 44 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Duh. Just realised that anyone who followed the chariities register link in the post might have been puzzled by the numbers.

    The larger revenue number (the $1.95m) comes from a different statement: the one for the KidsCan Charitable Trust Group, which consolidates KidsCan's various activities, including the Big Night In.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22830 posts Report Reply

  • Kerry Weston,

    Interestingly, in Ireland the Air Corps does air ambulance work, as well as SAR and police support.

    Now that would be a useful thing to do with our own air force and their shiny new helicopters.

    Manawatu • Since Jan 2008 • 494 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    I don't know if this works in the long run as people are surely jaded?

    Well, it certainly seems rather rather *cough* counter-productive to be setting up a mental connection between your organisation and intense irritation. Along as the same lines as my somewhat irrationally strong dislike of Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses. Objectively, Scientology is much creepier -- but the Xenu-worshippers don't go door-to-door.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Sarah Horth,

    You would think so. I must ask some friends here what they think about it.

    There are some ex Scientology people who protest at an intersection down the road - they cover their faces with masks - all a bit weird, makes me think of the Aum Shinrinkyo types you'd see scuttling around in Tokyo. Apparently they are scared of being recognised.

    Seattle • Since Aug 2009 • 44 posts Report Reply

  • Tim Michie,

    Rick,

    Please don't feel under assault with these questions. Clear answers will aid your cause. Mine are:

    What others, aside from celebrities who have public relations to organise them, do you have visiting schools?

    Which is the more costly exercise for KidsCan?:
    Organising the provision of sponsors' products to children or organising and providing the activities, camps and regular meals?

    Many thanks,
    tim

    Auckward • Since Nov 2006 • 614 posts Report Reply

  • Ping,

    Yes, but do they need this clothing? Would they be otherwise coatless and discalced? Does the charity identify need or is it just handing out branded goods?

    I've always assumed there's a need because the teachers/parents seem so thrilled to have the goods.

    But it's a good question - is there a need or are the kids just happy to have shiny free stuff? Perhaps one for the schools that get the goods - is there a need or can they simply put the stuff to good use?

    Auckland • Since Jul 2009 • 10 posts Report Reply

  • bronwyn,

    Hi Rick,

    as others have said, thanks for giving us the opportunity to ask you questions directly.

    I'm interested in what the long term aims are for KidsCan are. What, if any, strategies, do you have in place for moving from a position where you are simply providing a very short term (albeit possibly very necessary and immediate) solution to what are some of the symptoms of poverty to providing longer term solutions to the underlying causes?

    Do you have any plans to work with corporate partners that work from a more sustainable basis, for example, providing fresh food rather than processed food, shoes that are manufactured in NZ etc. etc.?

    tamaki makaurau • Since Nov 2006 • 86 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    There are some ex Scientology people who protest at an intersection down the road - they cover their faces with masks - all a bit weird, makes me think of the Aum Shinrinkyo types you'd see scuttling around in Tokyo. Apparently they are scared of being recognised.

    Sad and fucked up as it is, I wouldn't dismiss these people as paranoid loons either. Scientology has a nasty track record of using litigation as a tool to harass and intimidate critics. But on the brighter side, Sarah, you've certainly piqued my interest in visiting Seattle and sampling it's vibrant and diverse street life. :)

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

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