This week I was asked about how we have kept our fund-raising efficiency ratio relatively low. Last year it was 4.1 % and the previous 2 years were 2.1% and 2.4% respectively. This is a benchmark established by the Charity Council which is the total fund-raising expenses to the total gross receipts from fund-raising and sponsorships during a financial year. All charities are expected to keep their fund-raising efficiency ratio below 30%. I did not quite have the words then except to say that being a charity we are constantly mindful of our expenses which was just one part of the answer. The more significant part though is the whole of society approach we take that welcomes everyone to have a stake in the wellbeing of the community. As goodwill is welcomed, cost is defrayed.
Come Saturday, 22 September 2018, our main find-raising event Fairground for All will be running for the fourth year. This year it will be at SCAPE and our Guest of Honour will be Mr Baey Yam Keng, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth and Ministry of Transport. It is also the fourth year in which we are co-organising the event with the Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAML), a corporate volunteer who has been helping our children read since 2003.
Four years ago, as we were looking for fund-raising opportunities, we learnt from Jessica Khoo a long-time volunteer from BAML that her colleagues enjoyed running events with fairground games and they already had much experience doing so. They also had a modest budget and we thought that by adding a flea-market and some food stalls, we would have a carnival to raise funds. We receive pre-loved items all year round and sometimes the supply outpaces our ability to redistribute them and so a flea-market to help us clear our “stock” and to defray our operating expenses seemed like a good idea.
This year, we are most heartened that various volunteers have been helping our children and youth to contribute toward the success of Fairground. Volunteers from Hall 13 of Nanyang Technological University who support our children with their homework, ran an additional class to show them how to create earrings, pendants, keychains and figurines from clay. It was a welcome change from school work and the children were delighted with their creations when they were taken out of the oven. Now they look forward to manning their little stall at our Fairground and we are proud that they are part of a whole of society effort.
Successful fund-raising is a partial indicator of society’s active interest and involvement. Hence, our fund-raising efforts are also designed to communicate our cause, our work and why it is important. Fairground for All brings people from different social strata and background together to play, make friends and engage with the issue of inequality. Lots of games, food and bargains at the flea-market to explore and there are community theatre performances for the audience to interact and reflect on the inequality in our midst.
“Today’s Fair Ground is Tomorrow’s Level Playing Field” is a call for all of us to be a little more mindful that there are many around us who have many challenges and are feeling a little excluded and isolated. Going about our day with a little kindness, fairness and friendliness takes little time and a little effort but it adds up to a better community for all of us. www.fairgroundforall.sg
Enjoy your weekend.
The first step in the evolution of ethics is a sense of solidarity with other human beings. – Albert Schweitzer