By SYMONNE TORPY
Walking down Broadway, you navigate past colourfully dressed students, away from the allure of the second hand furniture store and the muscle men handing out pamphlets for the 24-hour gym.
You’re making headway in the street traffic. Then you see the charity worker. Almost frothing at the mouth with enthusiasm, he bounds up to you like a friendly puppy.
He’s wearing a T-shirt with a hopeful message on the front. His flyers are plastered with images of hungry children from far off lands. You think about the kebab that you had for lunch. Guiltily you slow down. Perhaps it’s time to sponsor a child?
‘Sales and marketing’ is what it says under the ‘experience’ tab on my résumé. For six months in 2010, I worked for a marketing company that was outsourced to deal with the pressures of attracting new donors for high profile charity organisations. My role was essentially to sell sponsor kids. They had become commodities– a means of generating an income, with all the morality associated with helping the less fortunate slipping by the wayside in our thirst for personal profit.
The Charitable Aid Foundation recently identified Australia and New Zealand as the world’s most charitable nations. According to the ABS, the Australian public donates about $4 billion per year, more than six times the level of donations made by big business.
But where is your hard earned money going?
Figures from Givewell showed the average fundraising cost in 2009 was 19 cents in the dollar, varying widely between organisations from 2% – 40% in NSW. The micro-regulation of charities is the responsibility of state governments, and in NSW there is a requirement to cap fundraising expenses at below 40¢ per dollar.