Think before you give
Rotary Club of Plimmerton
On Tuesday, 19 February 2019, Tania Woodcock provided us with some food for thought with her Viewpoint.
'Some years ago I held a senior role in a very large NGO and this gave me some insight into how the sector operates.
'I'm a firm believer in the role of NGOs. In my view the sector does an absolutely fabulous job in most respects but there is a challenge with organisations often not collaborating with other service providers to develop evidence-based best practice, or not appropriately delivering on their core service, that adversely impacts on the fulfillment of their kaupapa - the provision of high quality programmes and services that make a real, positive difference in their communities for the people who need it.
'In my view, this is often because organisations get caught in a 'passion trap'. Most people like to lead with their hearts, not their heads. People are passionate about their organisation and the 'uniqueness' of the services they provide.
'Almost without exception, in my view, the focus subconsciously becomes about maintaining uniqueness and, perversely, the outcome is often that the original kaupapa of the organisation - to provide quality services that make a real difference to those in need - becomes compromised and distorted.
'True client-focus would result in organisations actively:
'There’s a long and proud tradition of Plimmerton Rotary supporting a wide range of community initiatives that have made a real difference in our community - and internationally for that matter.
'I am proud to be associated with the club – there’s a great legacy for us to continue to live up to.
'Raising money is increasingly challenging to do. We don’t have huge financial reserves so we need to really think about how best we should be allocating or spending the money we do have.
'It’s important we think about how we decide what we’re going to fund, for how long and under what conditions.
'This means that we shouldn’t assume that just because we’ve invested in a particular initiative for a number of years that we should continue to do so at the same level we always have.
'It means that perhaps we should be open to the fact that, just maybe, we should no longer be contributing to that initiative at all.
'It also means that when we have an organisation with a slick fundraising team touting for our money we should really be prepared to interrogate their request.
'For example, and this is a decision that is clearly outside of my remit, my personal view is that the most likely scenario 'if Plimmerton Rotary was to fund ultrasounds in ambulances' would be that it would be a great thing for the very small number of people who have that essential need and have the good fortune to get an ambulance to attend to them.
'I think we have a colleague here who has been one of the lucky ones in that respect. However, my personal experience of three, separate and serious, medical emergencies in our community in recent times leads me to believe that there may well be a significant issue with their core service delivery.
'Therefore, why would funding a whole suite of expensive ultrasound machines for ambulances be the most essential thing for that provider, or the best use of our limited funds, if the basic service level of that particular provider is nowhere near meeting the basic service demand in our community?
'Stated even more directly, what’s the point of having an ambulance with an ultra-sound facility when the ambulance is not likely to get to you when you need it – regardless of whether you are even a candidate for the ultrasound machine?
'In my view, you and your family and our community’s fundamental need
'Finally, a key challenge for our club is to continue the legacy of the club by making a difference and supporting our community to get the services it really needs. If we were to spend our limited resources on things like ultrasound machines, for example, what other organisations or services would we no longer be in a position to fund?'