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.






Funding wows – do you to tell your story

More often than perhaps most realize we’re seeing organizations cutting back in one way or another.

Staff hours are being cut, service delivery is being looked at with the view to reducing hours or services being offered; not only are the staff directly affected but those in need of what organizations offer are also affected – it’s anyone’s guess how far the impact of cut backs flows; it’s likely the cuts could cut deep.

There’s an assumption that the need for cutbacks could have been foreseen, perhaps in some situations that is true, but at a guess not all would have been.

Organizations that have been relient, and almost gauranteed funding from Grants Boards, Trusts appear to have had a rude awakening when they discover that the ‘usual’ funding they had been getting has either been trimmed back or cut completely; often with no forwarning.

Planning should cover most situations, but when an organization has been receiving the same funding from the same source for a long period, the expectation is that it is “money in the bank” – sadly that’s not always the case, and organizations should be prepared with a contingency plan.

Where possible when planning and budgeting contingencies should be a consideration, a “what if” scenario should be in the minds of those responsible for managing an organization. Why some organizations forget this is a mystery.

When funding applications have been submitted and the reject letters arrive it’s in all probablity too late to be thinking “what can we do now” – that should have been in the minds of all concerned before applications were submitted.

A sob story to local media, local business and the community could result in some funding coming through – but it’s a gamble, and one that perhaps shouldn’t be taken.

Why might it be a risk to go to media? Funders may take it ‘personally’ and feel that you are perhaps unappreciative of the support that they may have given previously. Some say, talking to media could ruin any future chances of applications being received in a favourable manner, that they could easily end up in the decline pile without much, if any attention being given to the information contained in it. Perhaps, but in reality funders are aware that applicants struggle for funding and will from time to time talk to media about the difficulties they face, many wouldn’t take it personally, but some may.

In talking about funding issues organizations could likely find that other supporters could come out of the woodwork. People who may not have known the organization even existed, or the extent of the work it does would gain awareness the result of this being that support could come from places not otherwise thought of.

It could be a gamble, but one worth taking – would your organization take the gamble and try to raise awareness of your organization’s plight, or would you feel safer sitting, waiting in the hope that your traditional funders will support you in the next funding round.

Do you have time to wait, or do you have to bite the bullet and tell your story in the hope it will gain you the support you need to continue delivering the services you provide?

Telling your story could open a door (wallet) you may not have been able to open before; sometimes you have to bite the bullet and do it, but be careful you don’t put down support or supporters – remember you may need them again. Diplomacy and tact is needed.