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“On a Plate – A Short Story about Privilege”

We ran across this cartoon by Toby Morris on The Wireless website. This cartoon is a great illustration of the generational poverty that many of TLC’s clients face and how difficult it can be to get out of that cycle.

Which side of the cartoon do you fall on? Can you identify with the other side? Let us know.

One way that TLC helps individuals to move out of generational poverty is through the “Getting Ahead” program. During the 12-week course, participants are called “investigators.” They complete a self-evaluation to help them understand their current situation and mindset. They review what resources they have or lack, share stories and successes in the class, learn how to maximize their resources and build relationships which will prove beneficial beyond the class.

This year TLC will offer the course twice. The first one will begin March 2nd. For information about Getting Ahead contact Kim Whisenhunt at 481-4864, ext 105 or operationsmanager@tri-lakescares.org.

Toby is an illustrator and comic artist based Auckland, New Zealand. He is the creator of the Pencilsword and is also half of the Toby and Toby duo of the series “That is the question” at radionz.co.nz.

Cartoon

A giving heart begins at a young age

From Cara, Hangers Store Manager

Timothy Koch was beaming as he brought his young son, Logan, into Hangers to Hutches a few days before Christmas. Little Logan had a brand new Adventure Wheels in his arms that he wanted to donate. Logan was beaming as well, the father – son matching smiles were just alike. Dad began to tell us that Logan wanted to make sure that another child would have at least one gift for Christmas. So our “Elf” dad was more than pleased to help his pint-sized “Santa’s” wish come true. Logan was eager to tells us what his desire was and quickly posed for this sweet photo of his donation. There is nothing more priceless than the giving spirit of a child who understands, at such a young age, that the holidays are a time to think of and bless others…GREAT JOB LOGAN!

 

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Pictured from left to right: Elizabeth Robinove (Asst. Mgr), Liz Rael (Sales Associate), Logan Koch.

Date of Photo: 12/22/15

The Overhead Myth: Non-profit overhead is critical for growth

There has been a war declared in the nonprofit sector.

I’m not sure if you heard of it, but it’s a war against the “overhead myth”, or the idea that financial ratios are the sole indicator of nonprofit performance. Recently TLC Volunteer Jennifer Cunningham set out to do her part in debunking that myth by writing the article below. Thank you Jennifer and all the warriors out there who are doing their part to encourage donors to focus on outcomes rather than overhead!

We try to be careful with our money. When it comes to charitable giving, we tend to be even more protective, wanting to ensure it is put to its best possible use. Most often, we look to an organization’s overhead numbers to determine whether they are worthy of our dollars.

But strictly considering overhead as a gauge may be short-sighted. Let’s compare. Organization A has an overhead of 23 percent. They are providing many services to many individuals, growing their program offerings through fundraising, reaching established goals and possibly saving some in reserve for leaner months. Organization B, on the other hand, has only 8 percent overhead. They too are meeting basic client needs, but there is high turnover due to low salaries, no new programs and they live quarter to quarter in their budget, hoping a significant need does not arise.

Which would you rather support?

The difference here is the amount of money Organization A has invested into promoting their programs, compensating their employees and investing in infrastructure. They are strong. They may be spending more, but they’re also generating more in dollars and outcome. Organization B is barely hanging on and doesn’t have the capital to grow.

Which agency is more successful at meeting their projected objectives?

There is a very pervasive and entrenched attitude when it comes to non-profit performance and expenditures.

As Dan Pallotta, a staunch advocate for non-profit success, states, “Charities should have the same tools and permissions as the for-profit sector, or they will have no real chance of solving the world’s problems.”

His first example relates to compensation. In order to attract the best and brightest in any industry, there needs to be monetary enticement. Granted, the individual with a heart for non-profit work may expect a lower salary than a corporate position. However, everyone has a need to support a family and plan for the future. There shouldn’t have to be a choice between doing good for your household or doing good for the world. The added benefit to competitive wages is lower turnover. When an organization lacks continuity or commitment, the overall mission and vision suffers.

Perhaps the biggest area where expenditures are vilified is in fundraising. Large for-profit corporations spend millions, possibly billons, on advertising and marketing with stellar results. Why is this same allowance not given to the non-profit sector? Increased exposure equals increased support, resulting in increased assistance to the clients. People can only give to charities they are aware of.

“The only way organizations are going to grow is to increase public awareness of the work they do,” insists Pallotta.

Fundraising sometimes requires risk, another area non-profits are discouraged from pursuing. The fear from board of directors is, “what if it doesn’t work?” Money that could have been spent on programs is now gone, leaving the organization vulnerable to criticism. But without trying something new, non-profits are left to the same, mundane, low-income generating activities.

There is also little allowance for structured growth. Start-up, for-profit businesses aren’t expected to generate revenue immediately. However, non-profits are held to an almost unreasonable standard of producing results as soon as their doors open. This emphasis on the “do” leaves no time to develop, formulate tangible goals and objectives or create strategic plans.

So what is a donor to do? Very few of us have the time or knowledge to dig into the financial records and reports of a non-profit. Even if you simply compared overhead numbers, this wouldn’t provide you with an accurate picture. Every organization groups expenses differently, resulting in an apples to oranges comparison, which can be misleading.

Thankfully, the answer is simple. Organizations like GuideStar.org, CharityNavigator.org and GreatNonprofits.org have done the work for you. These organizations are replete with information on every non-profit and neatly organize the information you need to make an informed decision.

Smaller non-profits, like those found in the Tri-Lakes region, will not be listed on CharityNavigator due to their lower revenue. However, GuideStar does list them. In the search bar, type “Tri-Lakes” and the site will prompt you for the state. After clicking Colorado, our local charities will be neatly listed. Here you can compare reviews, financial and impact summaries, as well as donate. Look for organizations that have been given the Gold Star seal.

Giving is good. It feeds our soul and deepens the connection to our communities. When deciding to give, don’t simply ask for overhead numbers. Ask for outcomes and feel good knowing you are making a difference.

Tiny Town and Adventure Quest

 

 

I had the distinct honor and privilege of meeting Rhett and Alyssa recently. Ages 4 and 3 (though Alyssa assured me she was almost 4), Rhett and Alyssa came to TLC to personally deliver the fruits of their month-long labor of love for TLC on behalf of the Ascent Church’s Tiny Town.

Tiny Town (kids ages 2 through pre-k) and Adventure Quest (kindergarten through 4th grade) have committed to walking alongside Tri-Lakes Cares during the holiday season, hoping to raise money for the TLC food pantry and for those people who are less fortunate. They collected a special offering from Sunday, October 25 through Sunday, November 22, and asked the children’s parents to allow them to do some work around the house to earn change.

Rhett and Alyssa shared with us how they earned money to give to TLC. Rhett cleaned his room, helped with the dishwasher and laundry, and cleaned his play room. Alyssa cleaned her room and helped take care of her baby sister, who she tells me had been a little under the weather. Other kids raked leaves, washed windows, helped make dinner and set the table, and much more, all so they could earn money to give to people in need. In total, the Tiny Town-ers raised $44.92 for the TLC Pantry!

In addition to raising money through a special offering, Tiny Town and Adventure Quest collected 278 pounds of food for our holiday bags and decorated the bags themselves – 400 in total! We are so grateful to have these children involved in making a happy holiday celebration for families who are less fortunate.

Thank you Ascent Church for instilling in these kids the value of serving others and thank you Tiny Town and Adventure Quest for your effort to support Tri-Lakes Cares!