2016 Fraud Survey – BDO

I’ve talked about fraud in the charity sector before, and my personal take on it is that it under reported, because charities don’t want their donors to know that there are people committing fraud (no matter the level.)

Yes, there is a risk to funding if general donors (mums and dads) learn that there has been fraud committed at a charity they support, but in reality isn’t honesty the best policy, shouldn’t donors be told what’s been happening?

It seems that the majority of charities have systems in place, especially given the new reporting standards required of them, and know they can get help and support from Charity Services; so maybe the message is getting across, especially with smaller organisations, that there is help available to them and that there’s no shame in asking .

Read the summary of the BDO Not-for-Profit 2016 Fraud Survey here.

If your organisation detected fraud, what would you do, would you take action, would you let your supporters know? Either leave a comment below or email me charitymattersnz@gmail.com.

 

 

 

Looks Like a Charity Beat Up

A New Plymouth (New Zealand) charity – Roderique Hope Trust which provides emergency housing has recently leased a property to house people in urgent need of housing. But, this doesn’t seem to have gone down too well with others who have properties on the street.

One person, who’s daughter has a property on the street, has apparently threatened to sue if the value of her property decreases because of the Trust providing accommodation.

How can this be ok to even think about? As one person who commented on the item on Stuff.co.nz has said, “Do the residents of the street vet ALL people buying or renting in “their” street?  I bet they don’t!   How do they know that “that sort of person” became homeless due to accident, illness, redundancy or other reasons, and are perfectly respectable people?   This looks like a severe case of Nimby-ism”. This commenter is right in his/her thinking.

All too often we see community organisations taking action to help others in the community only to face a backlash, this time it seems as though the threat of legal action is only one part of the potential backlash, but it also seems that this could be a media beat up.

It would appear that Roderique Hope Trust have tried to keep the local residents informed, the fact that a meeting was planned for a long weekend is perhaps not a good thing, although it wasn’t organised by the Trust; but whoever organised it should have taken into account that some “players” wouldn’t be available.

We need organisations like Roderique Hope Trust helping in the emergency housing area, but we run the risk of others taking a step back if threats such as the one in this article are made to other providers.

Let’s hope there’s a good outcome to this and that the Trust moves ahead with their plan, it would seem that the owner of the property has no issues, only a handful of local residents who seem to feel they have been left out of discussions.

Let’s hope common sense prevails.

 

 

 

 

 

Grant Thornton Survey

The Grant Thornton Survey is conducted every two years, and from my take on the results non-profits are still facing the same issues as were indicated in the last survey results.

Smaller non-profits are still concerned about where they are at, where their money will come from.

And, again the issue of how organisations relate to their Board is also an ongoing concern (something I am concerned about – to me a Board should be more than a group of people who “”sign off” a Board should be active).

Read the full report here 

What are your concerns, issues … what needs to change? I’d be keen to know what your take is on where your organisation is now, and what you need to get it from where you are now to where you want it to be. Either leave a comment or email me charitymattersnz@gmail.com.

 

 

Changes are Afoot

​Non-Profits Being Hit

Seems that times are a changing for non-profits, we’ve heard recently that budgeting services have had funding cuts, now we’re hearing that other social agencies will have to ”disclose” details about the people they assit in order to maintain funding levels.

Some of the changes may not appear too bad, with some explanation being for the changes being that it is a way to help reduce operational, backroom costs; something that is perhaps needed. But is a heavy handed approach, as these changes seem to be, the way to go?

There’s no denying that there are duplication of services being provided within the non-profit sector, with each competing for a slice of the funding pie.

If there are several organisations working in the same space, it would make sense where possible for them to work closer to help reduce oerational costs. And, yes, there are organisations now working more closely to help reduce overall costs, but more could still be done.

When it comes to disclosure of client information, names, addresses, gender etc, this becomes worrying. 

With some organisations assisting vunerable people being asked to provide such personal information in order to gain or maintain funding it screams of Big Brother.

What’s wrong with the way things have done previously, a summary of clients assisted seems to have worked well. 

What will Government agencies use the personal information for?

How will clients, particularly those who are vulnerable, victims of crime etc react, will it cause some to not seek help out of fear of their personal information being misused (lost)?

Will your organisation be affected by these changes?

If you support organisations that maybe affected by these changes, will this have any impact on your continued support?

Questions need to be asked of Government agencies as to what are the REAL purposes of these changes?

Who’s in Your Advertising

We’ve seen it recently, and no doubt we’ll see it again, a community group using images that portray the peeople they support – yet, doesn’t actually use their images in promotional material, instead opting to use either stock photos or models.

Is it right or is it wrong?

We don’t see models being used for breast cancer campaigns, we see the real people. We don’t see models being used for promotional material of children suffering in far flung places, we see the real children.

So why, in the latest case models used in adverts for homeless charity a ‘kick in the guts’ has this organisation chosen not to use the real faces, the real people they are there to assist? Was it too hard, was it perhaps seen as possibly demeaning to use the real people; who knows. I’m sure they will have some spin out soon as to why, but for now all we can do is specualte as to their reasoning.

On the day the article appeared I heard homeless people talking about it, saying they felt cheated, that they are the real face of homelessness yet were being sidestepped, and they want answers.

I’m picking Lifewise will being getting a few visits from their clients asking why.
When you run your next campaign, will you use people representative of, from your organisation or will you get online and secure stock images, or call an agency for some models to portray the work you do?

If you opt to use people other than those you actually work with, be prepared for some flack, and possibly egg on your face when people start talking about it. And, sadly some of this talk will potentially end with your supporters voting with their wallets, taking their support elsewhere. Can you afford the gamble?

Not an ATM

I’ve used the phrase quite a bit … your donor is not an ATM, or similar. To receive a link to an article by Marc Pitman ”I’m not your ATM” was timely.

Have a read of what Marc says:

I’m not your ATM

As the economy continues to falter (or barely grow), we need people’s donations more than ever. But if we operate from a place of “need,” we can start sounding like we think we’re entitled to people’s money.

We never are.

So it’s more important than ever that you have your donor relations system in hand.

Here are some things to be thinking about as you review your plan.

Send acknowledgements quickly

Time after time, bloggers report making 10 donations at the end of the year and only getting 3 acknowledgements.

Don’t let this be you.

Best practice is to get those out within 24 to 48 hours. Some nonprofits aim for a week, allowing them to dedicate one day for receipting.

Just get them out.

Have a stewardship system decided in advance

Acknowledgements are expected. Stewardship is much more. Here are some things I help clients consider:

What level gifts get a handwritten note from the development director? The ED? The board chair?What level gifts get a phone call from the development director? The ED? The board chair?Do you have board members or staff do a thankathon?

These should all be spelled out so that, for instance, the ED can have a list of $1000 donors to call each week.

Continue reading here

Donor Loyalty … You not Them

Donor loyalty is important, not the donor being loyal, but you, the organisation.

Often donors feel as they’re simply being treated as an ATM, they feel that organisations aren’t loyal to them.

This article, Keep Your Donors by Building Profitable Relationships That Last; on Nonprofit Quartely is a must read.

There’s some good pointers in it, many I’ve raised before; being donor centric, building relationships and more.

Take some time out and read this now

Giving Circles

Not something I have come across in New Zealand, although perhaps Rotary Clubs, Churches could almost be seen as a form of Giving Circle.

For those unfamiliar with what a Giving Circles is, this from an artiles on Nonprofit Quarterly sums what they are quite well.

Giving circles are voluntary groups that enable individuals to pool their money (and sometimes their time as volunteers) to support organizations of mutual interest. They also provide opportunities for education and engagement among participants about philanthropy and social change, connecting them to charities, their communities, and each other.

Have a read of the full article, Could Giving Circles Rebuild Philanthropy from the Bottom Up?

I feel there’s room for organisations to look at how they could help people to understand Giving Circles and use them to help build awareness of the work done of their organisation and, yes gain support.

Do you know of any Giving Circles in your area?

Giving is like Sex

I guess that got your attention.

There’s been numerous studies as to why people give and the effects of giving on those who give.

A recent post I read ”Should you give?” has some great insights into what happens when people give, the effects of giving on the brain, body and soul.

We know we feel better when we give, we know our gift will help make life better for those receiving support through our giving. But what we probably didn’t know is that giving, as neuroscientists have found is that the decision to give activates the brain’s pleasure centers similar way to what eating chocolate or having sex does.

Ok, you probably shouldn’t start a campaign with ”Help us to help … It’s just like sex”, but knowing the effect of giving on peoples brains should give you insight into how to capture an audience.

Have a full read of what Freddie Pattisson says on his post on nfpSynergy

Social Media Fallout

You may have seen the article on Stuff.co.nz about the hotel employee who was dismissed for making disparaging comments on Facebook about a blogger; how would you handle something like this, do you have a policy about what staff (and volunteers) can say and do with their personal time, their person social media posts?

Have a read of the article, then have a think about how you would handle such a situation.

Hotel worker sacked over abusive Facebook post to columnist

A Sydney hotel supervisor has lost his job after making a sexist and offensive comment on the Facebook page of Fairfax Media columnist Clementine Ford.

The Meriton Group confirmed that Michael Nolan was no longer employed by the company, after he labelled Ford a “slut” when she spoke out publicly against misogyny and online harassment.

Ford, a weekly columnist for Daily Life, made a number of posts on her Facebook page on White Ribbon Day, which aims to prevent men’s violence against women, in which she highlighted recent examples of online harassment she had received.

Ford included screenshots of a number of abusive messages that had been sent to her, including images Ford said were a “little violent in theme”, and included unsolicited images of male genitalia.

Continue reading  the full article here

There are organisations that have internal social media policies, these generally state that an employee/volunteer won’t say or do anything that will bring the organisation into disrepute. They often will also point out the consequences should someone say or do something that could tarnish the reputation of the organisation.

But, is this acceptable, can an organisation state what an employee can or can’t do in their own time?

What’s your take?

Note: I don’t condone bullying, trolling or any such behaviour, so I am not defending the guys actions, merely raising a point of discussion.