No Audited Accounts

Any New Zealand organisation registered with Charity Services must provide an annual return, which among other things outlines income and expenditure for the previous period. Most organisations provide this information in a timely manner, but there are others who delay, delay and delay some more.

What’s more there are some who don’t have their annual accounts audited, not just for one year but almost never.

Sure, it’s their ”right” to elect to have accounts audited or not, but does this have the potential to cast doubt over the authenticity, credibility of the organisation?

Would seeing an organisation you have a connection with not furnishing their returns in a timely manner and not providing audited accounts make you think twice about donated your hard earned money?

Should there be a limit on how many years an organisation canget away without providing audited accounts?

Does your organisation ”vote” not to provide full audited accounts, has this had any impact on the way you are perceived by supporters? Has it impacted on the level of grants, sponsorships etc that you may have tried to obtain?

I’d be keen to hear your stories, experiences.

Homeless Being Moved On

I’ve talked about homeless – rough sleepers – before, but what I have learned in the last few days has made me angry.

Everyday there is a group of homeless/rough sleepers I see and stop and have a chat with, but now I hear they are being moved on from the area they felt safe in, an area they respected – sure they did leave a bit off clutter – their possessions – while they were off doing what they do during the day.

But, it seems the powers that be have made a decision and have removed these possessions. Thankfully they were collected by the police and one would assume are safe.

Imagine, you get home and all your possessions are gone, you haven’t been burgled, but someone thought it was an “eyesore” – you’d be gutted. Imagine then how the homeless people who went back to their place and saw their things gone. I’d say they would have been devastated.

Yes, some – and I mean some, homeless people are a pain, but in the main those I have met and chatted with are really no different to you and me, they just don’t have a roof over their head – and yes, a job.

We need to be looking out for, and after, the homeless and rough sleepers in our community. Sure there are agencies out there, but if you take time to speak to even only a couple of homeless people you will soon learn that they have had little help – besides some kai, a shower etc from these agencies, they don’t see the advocacy, the need to know and see what these agencies are trying to do for them.

Every Monday Auckland Central Library runs a free movie session, and there’s tea, coffee and biscuits – I’ve seen independent counsellors etc there, but never once seen anyone from any other “agencies”, mmm.

There’s also a homeless reading group, again held at the Auckland Central Library, again from what I have been told there’s no one really from the social agencies at these to talk with people about their needs and what services are available.

What can we do? Shite, that’s a big question – we can stand up for our homeless, yes, OUR, they are ours, they are part of our community. They are, as I said really no different to you and me.

I can see you scratching your head, thinking “well they’re all druggies, alcoholics”. Sure, some are, but not all of them.

Get to know some of the bods on the street and you will begin to learn more about them, their situation and what they are really like.

Make it your goal this coming week to stop and have a chat with at least one homeless/rough sleeper.

Sponsorship Revolution

Thought I had shared and talked about this before, New Sponsorship Revolution (Abby Clemence), if you’re in the charity sector and you haven’t read it, click now.

I’ve often said there are better ways that charity and business can “work” better together. With the right business connection, savings can be made, other income streams can be opened and more.

Read New Sponsorship Revolution now.

As usual your comments, thoughts or other are welcome.

Old Pugilist beat up

It’s not often I rant about an issue per se here, but after reading what Bob Jones had to say in the media yesterday (Tuesday 17 Jan 2017) I just can’t hold my tongue, or should that be my fingers.

Bob Jones, said in a report to media, as reported in the NZHerald that homeless people were essentially scum and worthless lazy buggers, sadly he doesn’t understand the reality and perhaps before he rants he should take timeout and sat and talked with some of the people sitting on streets asking for money.

I’ve spent many an hour speaking with homeless and beggars, not all homeless are beggars and not all beggars are homeless, they each have their own reason (story) for why they are where they are.

People like Bob Jones, and others who only want to moan, rant and say that people sitting on streets asking for money are scum and, more recently that begging should be banned, need to get their arses off their leather seats, and walk a mile (ok, a few metres) in the shoes of some people living off the street.

Unless we understand the whys of why people are living on and “off” the street then we can truly know what’s happening and how we can help.

We can all help, even if it is simply saying hello – don’t judge lest thee be judged.

There are people living on the streets who want to work, but because they don’t have a fixed address they can’t get jobs, because they haven’t been able to get a job for a few years they can’t get a job … drugs and alcohol are not the only reason, race is certainly an issue, but not the issue they are where they are at, the reason they are where they are at where they are is because of their race .. sadly we are still a racist country.

Yes, I’m angry, I’m angry because people like Bob Jones get to vent about people less fortunate but less fortunate people don’t have a voice, we need to be their voice, we need to sit and listen to them, to hear their stories and help where we can, they’ve been beaten down enough..

We need, nay, we must help lift those in need, we need to put our hands out, open our hearts do what we can to help.

 

 

 

Donor Remorse

Your income isn’t where it was this time last year, you check donations, look at your donor database and see that you have a number of donors who haven’t given in the latest round of fundraising. Why?

It could be that you have several donors suffering donors remorse. Yes, this is a real thing, it’s akin to buyers remorse; something you’re probably personally aware of (did you really need that new pair of shoes, that new suit or that splurge on single malt whiskey?)

Donors give for a variety of reasons, and they stop giving for a variety of reasons; one reason some stop giving – is – donors remorse; yes it is a real thing.

Maybe you’ve experienced it on a personal level when you have given something, and almost as soon as you have dropped the donation in the bucket or envelope you have a pang of regret – remorse, and question why you did it.

There’s a few reasons for donors remorse, some people experience it after being prompted by a friend to support a cause, a relative was assisted by an organisation and asked you to make a contribution or, perhaps someone you know had a child selling something to raise funds for a school trip.

Donors remorse is a real thing, it’s something though that organisation probably don’t plan for but they should have some way to factor this into their planning. If someone gives today and later “regrets” it; the chances of them staying around and supporting in the future is very unlikely, yet they’ll still expected to by the organisation, the organisation will likely add them to the database, they’ll receive mailers etc – all at an expense to the organisation, with a very very low probability of a second or subsequent donation being made.

Quite likely the amount given initially will be less than what the organisation will expend to get subsequent donations.

Organisations spend considerable time (and money) on donor retention, but when a donor has remorse this expense is wasted. So a way has to be found to make sure the level of donor remorse is minimised.

Don’t be airy fairy in what the donors support will mean, give real examples of how it will make a difference, personalise how their giving will make a difference. If needed and you’re able to use real pictures and real names – “Lucy will have a better chance … “

When people are asked to support a real need has to be given, a picture painted; something that will stick with the donor – you want them to stick with you, so make sure the image you paint sticks with them.

All the training in the world won’t make a difference to how much you can raise – and maintain, if those making the ask are confident, competent and above all using all the tools you have given them.  Monitoring who information is used isn’t prying, it’s an investment, don’t be afraid to use “secret shoppers” – you’ll get real world feedback, not only on how your campaign is going but on how effective those making the ask are doing it and coping.

Are you going to let donor remorse hit your bottom line and impact on year on year giving?

See also Breaking the Silence Around Donor’s Remorse

Younger Donors, You Need Them

As the population ages organisations need to look beyond their mainstay of donors, the Baby Boomer etc; sorry to say, but this is a dying sector of the donor base.

But, unless organisations are (or rather have) started to work toward attracting younger donors there is a serious risk that organisations will suffer to not only grow, but to continue to do the work they are there for.

Sure, younger people are getting on board and supporting organisations, I’ve seen this, you’ve seen it, but in the main I’d suggest it’s the sexy organisations, not the less attractive ones (this is a perception).

To attract younger supporters organisations need to, yes, I’m telling you what others have been for ages; get savvy with the use of social media, get used to using video, stage events to attract a younger audience (typically millennials won’t want to go to a black tie dinner).

And, change your online presence. Does the website you had built a couple of years ago need an update, come to think of it, when did you last look at how your website looks on new devices – it may look good, readable and usable on your desktop computer; but what does it look and feel like on a handheld device?

Can users quickly and easily make an online donation? If not, you’re missing opportunities; sure there are other apps people can use to make donations to your cause, but why send them to another “site” if you’ve already got them “captured” on your site?

Not sure if you’re site, communication style etc is attractive to a younger audience – that’s easy, invite them to look and give you feedback, get a group of younger people together to talk about what you need to do to attract their age group; not just your look and feel, but your overall message and mission.

You’ve nothing to lose – oh, yes you do, you run the risk of your donors dying off and no new donors to fill their shoes.

See also

Young people need to be nurtured and encouraged

Teach children the importance of giving

Buy One Give One

People do have more “respect” for businesses that give back, for business who support the community; CSR has been talked about for a long time now, and perhaps more so since continued rise of the use of social media.

I literally stumbled across “The rise and rise of corporate social responsibility” by Marnie Fleming of Parachute Digital and just had to share it in the hope it will further increase discussion. Discussion within businesses about how they can be further engaged in the giving process; as well as discussion within charities about how to connect with business.

The rise and rise of corporate social responsibility

There’s been a significant increase in the growth of ‘corporate social responsibility’ over the years. With more consumers than ever saying they would be willing to pay more for a product or be more loyal if they knew the products they purchase or providers they use are acting responsibly, whether it be how the products are sourced, to giving back to communities, they have a deep seated need for accountability and giving back in some way. And rightly so!

This makes us (the consumer) feel good about themselves, because they’re informed choices of ourselves. I get to spend my hard earned dollars, knowing they will be making a difference somewhere somehow. This also makes me want to shop at that company again (now I’m sticky).

Continue reading Marnie’s article here

 

http://www.parachutedigitalmarketing.com.au/blog/author/marnie/

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.