After a generous $150 kick start, our fundraising has well and truly begun and the reality that I will actually have to abseil is starting to sink in!
We still have $750 to raise though and we can’t do it without your support! Jump on to our MyCause page to give what you can! Pretty please?
You might be wondering, where will this money I give go? Well, I could write essays on the programs of This Life Cambodia, the systemic issues of poverty they address, the way they involve communities and individuals in the decisions that affect their lives and the way they use research to inform their programs and I probably will, some other time. For now, you can read all about it on their website.
Instead, I want to talk to you about where your money actually goes. Donated money goes directly towards the running costs of the programs TLC operates. While this includes things like educational materials and bicycles, electronic equipment and solar lamps in reality it also includes … administration costs.
Now administration costs aren’t things too many people like to see their money being used for. Generally, people would much rather pay for school fees or buy a bicycle. But without administration costs, programs simply can not run.
I’m not about to get into a debate about what percentage of donations should be spent on administration costs, but what I can tell you is that organisations, good organisations, try to keep their overheads as low as possible and focus their resources on the people they work with.
But if you want to run good programs, you need good staff. You want the best. You need the best. So you have to pay them accordingly. We all want to be compensated fairly for the work we do. It’s no different in a developing country.
You also need somewhere for your staff to work. And that usually means paying rent. It’s not sexy, but it’s important. From first hand experience it’s also important that this office space a) isn’t in an area prone to flooding and b) isn’t infested with termites.
That work space needs a few things – running water, electricity – that helps. In a country like Cambodia where electricity is exorbitantly expensive when compared to incomes, electricity can be a huge expense for organisations, but without it work just can’t happen.
Computers and printers are also handy. Preferably ones that work. They can be difficult to source and difficult and expensive to maintain.
Desks and chairs, stationery, a car or motorbikes to transport staff to the communities they work in, petrol; these things all cost money. And without them, programs and organisations just don’t run.
Administration costs aren’t sexy, but without them organisations just can’t do the work they do best. Which means they can’t help the people that need it most. Good organisations will also publish an annual report for their supporters and the general public. While this offers a great insight into the work achieved in a financial year, it should also include a financial breakdown so you can what money is being spent and where. You can access TLC’s most recent report on their website.
Don’t let administration costs be a barrier to giving what you can to an organisation or charity. By giving to TLC you will be helping kids get access to quality education. You will be helping minors in prison develop skills to help give them a shot at life once they are released. You will be contributing to making life better.