I’m often asked about how to measure the

I’m often asked about how to measure the success of events, not the money raised, but how the event has gone overall, the awareness gained, the number of new approaches and more.

Recent articles by Kathryn Hall on NPEngage covers this well, so rather than write my own take I thought it simplest to share what Kathryn says.

See here latest insights here.



Charity Boxes to Oust Beggars

After reading “City council acts on rise in ‘opportunist’ begging” I got to thinking that yes, the charity boxes will help some; but it will not help all in need.

Having spent time in both Auckland and Wellington talking to people who “beg” I’ve learned that it’s not just a lazy way to get some money – it’s sometimes the only way some of these people can get something to eat, perhaps even a warm pair of socks.
Not everyone who is out on the street asking for a handout are doing it to fuel a drug or alcohol addiction, and nor are they all layabouts with nothing to do with their day, or more to the point not willing to do something. 
The problem is deeper, and unless we look at the real issues, the reasons why people are on the street asking for spare coin we will never really understand it.
Agencies can do their part, they can talk with officialdom to look for solutions, but unless they talk with the people who are asking for coin we’ll never truly understand the “why”.
People I’ve spoken to have said they’re not eligible for welfare payments, perhaps this will worsen with more people being declined or having payments cut when drug / alcohol testing comes starts to hit.
Sure, welfare payments are for food, housing etc, not for recreational purposes; but that’s another issue.
I’m not suggesting that agencies aren’t doing their job, what I’m suggesting, or more to the point wonder is what agencies have been out and spent time talking to people about solutions. Are the charity boxes a real solution?
Will all the money in the boxes get to where it’s needed, or will a clip be taken for administering the ‘funds’?
One homeless man I’ve recently met has told me he receives a benefit, but sits on the street to collect any other money he can. His reason; the benefit he gets isn’t enough to feed, clothe or house him. 
He collects an average of $60 per week – half he uses to help him from week to week, the other he’s setting aside to help him move into affordable accommodation. He’s actually saving money for his future and to help him improve his lifestyle.
Maybe this guy is a rarity, but he has a story, one which I’m wondering have agencies asked him to share.
It will be interesting to see if the move to install Charity Boxes will work, I’m doubtful. I’m wondering if instead it will result in more aggressive begging, something the proponents of the boxes are hoping the boxes will end. 
I guess only time will tell if this move by the Wellington City Council will have the desired effect.


How much do your collectors know?

Recently I’ve heard tales of people saying that street collectors don’t need to know much about the organization they’re collecting for, that being armed with brochures is sufficient. Is this enough to satisfy potential donors?

Some think that collectors don’t need any knowledge of the organization they’re collecting for other than the name and the basics of what the organization does; and simply having a brochure is sufficient for them to have for other information should donors wish to know anything more. Is this sufficient?

In my opinion I feel collectors should have more insight than merely name and the basics, they should have some insight into the amount needed to run the organization, the number of people etc the organization assists in a year etc.

Some organizations give collectors information sheets which cover most of what the typical donor may ask; others hold briefing sessions before collectors hit the streets – what does your organization do?

Sure, you don’t need to run a training session before your collection, but it’s important collectors have information available – even the phone number of someone they can contact should they need some help.

Does your organization take note of what collectors may say after the collection, such as “wish we had more information” – “people wanted to know blah blah” – if you do then great it means you can better arm them next time. If you don’t then how do you know what people are asking of the collectors.

Cash Strapped Charities

We often hear about charities facing closure or cutbacks in service delivery, we’ve seen organizations have funding cut back or cut completely, it’s nothing new and will continue.

Yes, there may have been more incidences of this in recent years. Why – that’s the million dollar or perhaps only $64,000 question.

Sure Government funding and other grants have tightened up, but this is nothing new; it’s been happening for years.

What some don’t seem to get is that there is perhaps an over reliance on ‘normal funding streams’ – Government grants etc, these have never been a guaranteed source of funding unless an organization has some immediate tie to a Government policy area; even then these are up for review, with no guarantee that funding will go beyond certain periods which could be one, two or even up to five years.

Why are organizations facing funding issues? Simple, funding has tightened, the criteria has been stepped up and reporting has taken on a more indepth look at organizations deliverables and achievements.

What could be done to ensure longevity of organizations? I guess there’s no simple answer, but something I’ve long advocated is that organizations need to look beyond normal sources of funding, there are other options and that’s where a strong and committed management team is needed. Not only in terms of managing the organization on a daily basis, but also in connections the team could possibly tap into.

Recently an organization was facing closure over a shortfall of $30,000 in funding, after a quick round table with the management team it became apparent that this wasn’t as dire as it seemed. Every person on the team committed to find $5,000 within a week – and yes, they did it, and in fact they got more than the funding needed, almost double in fact.

It’s not just the responsibility of the funding or grants team, it’s the responsibility of everyone on the management team to find funding sources, personal connections play a big part in this.

Is your management team up to tap into their networks for funding when times are tough? If not, why not?