Thursday, May 21, 2009

SE Queensland and NE NSW storm hits hard

A state of emergency has been declared just over the border in Queensland, and I am guessing NSW will be declaring one here too. Where I live has been hit pretty hard, but short of being trapped (with plenty of food) for a couple of days it is just an inconvenience.

We are so lucky to be in Australia. The floods in Brazil a few weeks ago forced a quarter of a million people to be evacuated and killed dozens. Burma and Bangladesh are also recent disaster zones but over the past century China has lost millions of people to floods. They have suffered seven that have killed over 100,000 people. One, in 1931, killed over 3.5m - not much less than the current population of New Zealand.

Really, we have not a lot to complain about here.

The road to the coast

The 'main' road to our nearest town, Lismore

Our drive. (If you look carefully, the whiteish blob on the right of the road, on the grass is the bum of a koala, called Justine).


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

What is wrong with the Australian NFP Sector?

Excellent one hour program from the ABC about the sector in Australia.

With 700k NFPs in Australia, are we a mess?

Listen to 'Inventing the Third Sector' ABC Background Briefing, which was broadcast on 17 May.

Download podcast / MP3.

Keith Roberts (ex Epilepsy Action) and Tony Thirwell (Heart Foundation) speak a lot of sense about traditional fundraising charities, but the program goes beyond that to give a lot of insight into the non-charity NFPs. Elizabeth Cham and Mark Lyons (philanthropy academics) give some put the case for better regulation, and the case against using cost of fundraising as a useful measure.

I must say that Elizabeth goes off on one about face to face fundraising in a very non academic way, suggesting that charities use face to face for the wrong reasons. She suggests they do it to keep their fundraising costs down, which makes no sense to me having frequent opportunity to look at the data and costs / income involved.

She calls it 'chugging' which kind of shows her colours on this issue straight away!

She says "...but they're out there in the streets with these chuggers - you know, you can't move in any city in the world almost, without bumping into not so much the beggars but the chuggers, the charity muggers - who are out there saying, 'Are you going to give us your credit card so we can take $10 from you?'"

Elizabeth - people only give when asked, and face to face activities has raised at least a billion dollars in Australia - from a new audience of previous non-givers. She is also not happy that the face to face canvassers are only paid on success - which is the case for some, but not all of the companies.

She hints that this is morally contradicting charities own '...very, very strong policies about proper labour costs when [you're] operating internationally.'

Everything else she says is pretty damn spot on though; a thoughtful and useful show, worth an hour of your life.

In preparation for me being on 'Australia Talks' - ABC National 'intelligent talkback show', the producer asked me lots of questions about face to face, cost of fundraising and regulation so I guess this is all still pretty hot stuff for the media. (The show is on Thursday at 6pm, Podcast will be available on the ABC website afterwards so people in other time zones can listen later. OK mum?)

Disaster Fundraising Guide download it here