At ChildFund, we are committed to ensuring we are accountable with the generous donations we receive.
That's why, we are constantly looking to better optimise our work by being more efficient and effective in all areas. In fact, we are so obsessed with making improvements to the way we work that we've even shifted our approach -- rather than spend more of your donations to do less, we're spending less and doing much more.
If you've been supporting ChildFund New Zealand for many years, you will likely have noticed some of the following improvements yourself. In fact, if you've participated in any of our donor surveys or given feedback to us in the past, you may have even been the catalyst for one or two of these changes to happen!
On behalf of the children, youth and family members we serve, thank you!
As we continue to evolve, innovate and optimise our work, we think it's only fair to keep our supporters in the loop and engaged with the changes that we're making. Here are five exciting ways ChildFund New Zealand is doing more with less.
1. We are sending you far less mail in the post.
In the past, we have been guilty of overdoing it with our mailings. Some donors have told us that they received more than one ChildFund envelope in the mail every month. To everyone who has told us to stop sending so much: we've heard you loud and clear! You'll notice that we've created a new way of sending out letters that we think is much better.
For the past year, we have been combining our mail packages to save time and cost (and we hope, annoyance for you). If you're a child sponsor, we like to send out special cards for sponsored children a few times per year. That hasn't changed. But rather than send a second letter in the post for our fundraising appeals, we have merged the two. So, when you get your sponsored child's card in the mail, there's always information included about our current campaign. That way, we're saving costs on postage, and you're not receiving so much.
We've also been improving our ability to send letters and correspondence to our supporters via email. Rather than receiving our regular newsletter via post, we've been updating our online blog several times per week, and sending email updates on a regular basis. We hope this is much more convenient for you.
Let us know in the comments below, what you think about our new approach!
2. We've streamlined our international focus into just a few dedicated areas.
Back in 1990, when ChildFund New Zealand started working with Kiwi sponsors, we had sponsored children in more than 20 countries. Some countries only had a handful of sponsors, which made it difficult to have a good understanding of the impact that was being made in those countries. Fast-forward 30 years to today, and you'll find that we now have more sponsored children in less communities. Right now, we are focused on just six: Emali Kenya, Luangwa Zambia, Batticaloa Sri Lanka, Cao Bang Vietnam, Timor-Leste and the Pacific Islands.
By working in this way, we are maximising your impact! Instead of doing a little bit for the children you sponsor, now we can do heaps by implementing large-scale community projects and programmes that help children and youth to thrive. And, because of our Road Map approach, we are always monitoring the progress your support is having. We know that, thanks to the donations of our generous supporters, we are helping communities reach self-reliance - so that one day, they won't need our donations anymore.
3. We're giving you the information that really matters to you!
One of the things we've heard from our supporters is that they'd like more information on the communities they support, and less information about those communities they don't support. Note taken! Over the past two years, we have been working to improve the way we communicate with our supporters. We like to call this "being more personal." Sometimes, this means you'll receive a telephone call from one of our donor care team members, and other times, this means you'll get an email or letter telling you about how your support is making a difference for children and youth overseas.
This is still a work in progress -- we're always trying to get better! If you have any recommendations, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org! We'd love to hear your ideas!
4. We're improving our skills in-house and relying less on external suppliers.
We understand the importance of doing things right the first time. That's why, when necessary, we bring in experts to help us achieve our plans. But there are some things we identified that our team can do without the help of others.
For example, we used to rely on the creative ideas of marketing agencies and consultants when developing the sponsored child cards and campaign materials that you receive a few times per year. Not only was this an expensive endeavour to undertake, we are finding that it also was unnecessary. In fact, we have several members of the team who are child sponsors themselves! All we had to do was ask our team to come up with some creative ideas, and then execute them. To make this work professionally, we did some training on graphic design, which helped us save money and improve our results. In fact, since we've been doing it ourselves, our results have been growing exponentially -- we think you actually prefer our ideas!
To prove how effective it has been, we did a little digging. In 2017, for every $1 we invested in fundraising, we were able to send $2.50 to help children and youth in our programme areas. We thought this was pretty great at the time. But in the last year, that has changed significantly! For every $1 we spent in fundraising in 2020, we sent $5.65 to our dedicated areas! What an achievement!
5. We're not investing in things that just don't work.
Nobody likes to be pressured into making a donation. But for so many charities, street fundraising is the main method of attracting new donors. Unfortunately for us, it hasn't been as helpful as it may seem. In fact, many people who choose to sign up through street fundraising end up calling a few days later to cancel their support. We've been there, done that.
ChildFund New Zealand took a bold step a few years ago to look at the long-term impact of street fundraising on our dedicated programme areas. It didn't look good. Rather than increase investment in this underperforming fundraising channel, we decided to do the right thing, and stop. That's why you don't see ChildFund New Zealand representatives on the streets asking you to sponsor a child.
That said, we are always looking for new supporters and would love some new ideas for how we can reach people with the important work we're doing. If you have ideas, please contact us today on 0800 808 822 and speak to one of our team members. We'd love to chat!
Optimisation is a work in progress.
At ChildFund, we are committed to making constant improvements in the way we work, so we can be effective with your donations. That's why giving to ChildFund is a smart decision. We are accountable and trustworthy with your support, and we always think twice about spending your generous donations.
Let us know in the comments below if you've got any ideas for how we can do better. Thank you for the last 30 years of supporting our work to help children and youth to thrive.