Chairties stuck in a time warp?
August 5 2019 by David Gibbs
Is Government happy to have charities stuck in a time warp? In a time of incredible change, charities seem to be the same as they’ve always been.
Charities are stuck using the same approach to fund raising as they did twenty, thirty or even a hundred years ago – and yet we rely on them for essential services. Governments seem to be encouraging the status quo by treating them as servants, not partners in helping society. The whole model seems outdated and something has to give.
One of charities key KPIs is focused on how little they can spend on admin to show value to their benefactors. As a result, great people with great ideas are not always employed as they’re more expensive and then you get well-intentioned but often unqualified people taking on key roles. New ideas are not actively encouraged, such as crowd funding, micro-financing and major benefactor programmes aren’t resourced appropriately. Instead we see young people, mostly not Kiwis, on the street rattling tin cans in Frankton and the Queenstown Mall, rather than seasoned relationship sales people targeting the real money, which includes the Government. Occasionally, the community really benefits from wealthy philanthropy who ‘go it alone’ to selflessly complete programmes that significantly benefit the community – I’m thinking Camp Glenorchy.
It feels almost like something out of Oliver Twist with charity collectors begging from passers-by. It’s cheap, but ineffective.
If Government funded their own areas of responsibility properly, such as cancer treatment, proper local medical facilities, assisting people who are less off or investigating environmental initiatives instead of relying on charities to do most of the leg work, society would be better off. Charities could focus on delivering, not begging with one hand and delivering services with another. Charities should be complimentary to essential services not having to provide them.
What’s this got to do with Queenstown? We have many residents living hand-to-mouth, paid minimum wage, working inconsistent casual hours and with high cost of living. All these issues create a large, growing demand on poorly-resourced mental health services. Similarly think housing, think those needing more than the basic medical treatment but can’t afford travel to Invercargill or Dunedin regularly to get the treatment they need. Government is primarily charged with safety and security of its population and supporting the services appropriately, but increasingly, it’s underfunded charities who are picking up the slack both financially and service-wise.
Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a crack at charities, they do an amazing job on a shoestring budget and I pose the question: is the government happy to keep this model just the way it is? It’s time the funding model for charities is innovated so they can better provide essential services, or it’s time Government stepped up.
Commercial Operations Manager - Lakes Weekly Bulletin