Wednesday, 12 August 2009


We have just watched Close Up do a number on KidsCan - the Telethon Charity .

Its worth a watch. We are still convinced that:

  • No real needs assessment has been done. So we don't really know if 10,000 kids need shoes. And how many need raincoats that make them billboards for the All Blacks.
  • There is still no real transparency.
  • It still looks like a marketing campaign dressed up as a charity.

This is the statement that Kidscan have just released and it appears the government is also giving them some more money as well to distribute food to poor kids.

KidsCan has today responded to inaccurate commentary about the proceeds of the Big Night In Telethon on TV3 that raised around $2million to support Kiwi kids in need through the KidsCan Food for Kids, Raincoats for Kids, Shoes for Kids and StandTall programmes.

KidsCan will provide a full analysis of the money received from the Big Night In Telethon, the costs and how the proceeds will be used, as soon as possible. As you will appreciate, it will take a few weeks to work through all the financials before KidsCan is in a position to provide full and complete financial accounts.

The team at KidsCan has worked extremely hard through sponsorship negotiations to ensure that the costs of running the Big Night In Telethon were kept to an absolute minimum.

Some of the recent commentary relates to historic KidsCan accounts that were filled with the Charities Commission as is required. The Board of KidsCan wishes to provide some context and clarification.

At first sight the conclusions that some have drawn from these accounts may seem the end of the story. That may be true for some charities that simply raise money from the public, the Government or from corporate supporters and then pass that money over to other organisations to spend.

KidsCan is very different. KidsCan also delivers the various programmes and of course that requires people to do the work - and that requires funding for salaries which are determined using external advice.

KidsCan is thrilled to now see the Government recognising the importance of the KidsCan programmes by this week announcing monetary support. It does though need to be noted that this is the first Government support that KidsCan has received since being established four years ago.

All of the Government funding will go directly into the food programme as has been agreed with the Prime Minister.

Many charities in New Zealand have Government support and that obviously reduces fund-raising costs significantly. Raising funds in the current environment is extremely hard work and there are some costs associated with doing this.

That is why KidsCan wants to say another huge thank you to all the sponsors and supporters who funded almost all of the costs of putting on the Big Night In Telethon. And of course the generosity of Kiwis during the Big Night In Telethon was just amazing.

But - the single most important factor, that a simplistic focus on financial accounts misses is that KidsCan receives massive in-kind and non-cash support which it cannot account for under current charities and accounting standards law in New Zealand.

If KidsCan could (and this has been discussed with the Charities Commission) then, in fact, the proportion of total contributions to KidsCan programmes [including both in-cash and in-kind support] would have been around 60% last year.

These in-kind and non-cash donations include food, professional services, storage and transport to name but a few. If these in-kind and non-cash donations were not made, KidsCan would need to find more cash donations to pay these costs. These in-kind and non-cash donations amounted to around $760,000 in 2008.

It is also important to appreciate that a large proportion of our operational costs [including staff salaries to deliver the programmes] are met by philanthropic or charitable trust grants, not from public donations. These grants must be used for the purpose for which they were applied - for example, salaries and wages and office costs.

Our projections over the next 2-3 years indicate closer to 80% of contributions going directly into KidsCan programmes. KidsCan will be making all those figures public.

I trust that this information provides context and clarity and the Board and management of KidsCan again thanks New Zealanders for their support for the Big Night In Telethon and also the many volunteers who made this such a success.

Rick Shera Chairman KidsCan StandTall Charitable Trust

We think that this just raises way more questions than it answers.Why did the government pick this charity to give money to?


JC said...

"Why did the government pick this charity to give money to?"

Because its got the magic word "Kids" in it.


Observer said...

Given the fact that there is now 71% of a beneficiary living off my personal taxes, as well as a large percentage of as civil (Ha) servant, etc., it worries me that there are children out there with no shoes.
Instead of banning the use of hands0free car-kits for mobile phones, can we instead ban the sale of alcohol and cigarettes to beneficiaries? Then maybe the kids will have shoes and I won't be asked for MORE money to supply them.