Wednesday, 12 August 2015

A Plea to Funders

I said that I was off for two weeks, but having taken an interest in all of the articles around Kids Company, I need to get something off my chest before I go.

It seems to me that the high level summary is about Kids Company is:

A long term successful charity needs Good delivery PLUS Good Fundraising PLUS Good Governance PLUS Good administrative systems.

The general media consensus seems to be that Kids Company made a fantastic difference to lots of young people's lives, although there were some practices ("pocket money" allegedly spent on drugs) which have attracted criticism. They also had fantastic fundraising capabilities.

The jury still seems to be out on the governance, the trustees are largely keeping quiet, presumably following due process for directors of a company that is insolvent, we don't yet know what was going on behind the scenes. What it certainly lacked was good financial and administrative systems - monitoring and evaluation of its' work, tracking its' finances, keeping a sensible level of reserves. There seems to have been a mantra that all money should be spent on the kids, not on administrative functions.

Funders are most usually willing to pay for Good delivery. But very often, they are not willing to pay for the other stuff - governance and administration. However, the Kids Company example proves that just being excellent at delivery is not enough. Every sensible funder should understand that a certain amount of money spent on administration is a good thing, not a bad thing. My plea to funders - please bear that in mind when funding charities!

Monday, 10 August 2015

International Youth Day - 12th August

I was asked by the Cabinet office last week if we could provide examples of young people having a positive impact on their communities and working hard to get on so they can be celebrated as part of international youth day this week.

Whilst I know that there are lots of fabulous young people in Surrey doing this stuff, I was concerned about whether the right people would be around in Youth Organisations in mid-August to answer the call. However, many of you are hard at work at your desks (or checking your emails on holiday – naughty!) and our members have done us proud… there have been a flurry of responses. Just a few:

  • Skillway nominated Josh Taylor – check out his website 
  • Eikon’s (@eikoncharity) Youth Development Board have been working hard feeding back to trustees and organising an awards evening.
  • Through YMCA East Surrey’s extensive volunteer and employability programme, called ‘Get Involved’, young people have been gaining work experience and qualifications with a view to finding future employment. Well done especially to the volunteers of the month – Frankie, Abbi and Sam.
  • Epsom Phab we have a fantastic group of young volunteers who dedicate hours of their time to ensuring a wide range of activities are provided for the children with and without disabilities  at our club.

Do encourage any young people you are working with to tweet on the day (August 12) using the #aimhigh or #YouthDay.

Also, do use this to publicise opportunities that you have for young people.

Just to give you some ideas about what you might like to tweet about:
  • Joe Bloggs from Surrey started her own social enterprise at 20. Could you do the same? #AimHigh (including a picture with with hashtag)
  • Under 25 and have a business idea? Here's how to start (include link and hashtag)
  • Girlguiding gave me the opportunity to make a real difference to my local community #AimHigh
  • Could you be a volunteer and make a difference? Include hashtag and weblink

I’m off on holiday for the next two weeks, so there’ll be a two week gap in my blog as I am away with hubby and kids to cycle in South Wales for a week after which I will hopefully be relaxed enough to be able to sit still on a beach in Cornwall for a week. See you in September.

Monday, 3 August 2015

Forgetting the past

Sometimes it's good to remember and learn from the past (as individuals and nations). However, who out of us doesn't have something they would rather forget? Furthermore, who out of us doesn't have something we would rather the world couldn't find out about for the next ten, twenty, fifty years... that photo of me with a perm that I thought was so cool in the eighties...

Unfortunately the way that it has become the social norm for young people to live their lives online these days, their youthful indiscretions will often be exhibited or talked about online for all to see.

An interesting campaign called iRights has been launched to allow children to delete their online past.

I am not sure how this would work in practice, but it's certainly an interesting idea. I am wondering whether there are any downsides (other than the logistics of achieving this), I can't immediately think of them. I would be interested to hear some experts discuss this!