Where Does My Money Go?
Fundraised or Donated? Where will your hard-earned money go?
Here's a brief guide to what we do (and don't) spend your money on...
We spend very little on:
We run a pretty lean ship here at War Child. We deliberately keep our staff numbers low and recruit people who're skilled in multiple areas and who don't mind 'mucking in'. We also have a very successful internship programme which allows us to develop the skills and experience of some talented young people whilst harnessing their energy and passion.
Running costs are one of the most popular yardsticks used to measure how 'good' or 'efficient' a charity is. We spend an average of 5p in the pound on ours, but we're also eager for people to scratch beneath the surface a bit more. Running costs aren't a bad thing, and those pie charts you see showing 'how much of your pound goes where' should be taken with a pinch of salt. Read more about why here.
Whilst we've outgrown our Victorian false-teeth factory that was our home for 15 years, we're still in a pretty basic office just outside Kentish Town in north London. This one even has air-conditioning, but Helen our Finance Director won't let us turn it on as it's too expensive!
Very rarely for a charity of our size, we spend virtually nothing on our marketing or advertising. We don't print glossy corporate brochures and we don't pay to advertise in newspapers, on buses, on websites or anywhere else.
Most other charities, especially the larger ones, spend a small fortune every year on their Marketing/Advertising. It's great for them to help grow their brands and supporter-base, but sometimes having a budget for something can put a brake on finding an innovative way of doing it - or even just blagging it for free instead!
We don't channel our money through central governments, we spend it ourselves or through our local partner organisations. We're accountable for every penny we spend and we know exactly where it's all going. We do however, work alongside local governments - helping to train their teachers, social workers and police officers in child protection issues for example.
It's not very sustainable for a foreign charity to sidestep all the existing institutions and duplicate their jobs. Ultimately, the governments and local authorites have a duty to protect their children and we're helping to hold them to account for that too.
We're not afraid to spend a bit of money on:
Whilst there's things that we're happy to scrimp and save on, the security of our staff and the children we work with isn't one of them. Given the nature of our work, it's really important that we can keep everyone safe and that we have plans, procedures and staff in place to deal with any incidents or upsurge in violence.
Our learning (commonly known in charity circles as 'Monitoring & Evaluation') is a really important part of our work. Without knowing exactly who our programmes are reaching, and how they're helping those people in the short and long terms, we have no way of knowing that your money is having the best possible impact on the lives of young people. That learning also helps identify where some of our projects didn't perhaps work as we had hoped, and help us plan better ones next time.
We take all the expertise and knowledge we've learned from our Child Protection Programmes and use it to lobby and inform politicians and decision-makers at a local, national and global level.
You gotta 'speculate to accumulate' as Delboy would say. We've been investing in our fundraising capacity in the last couple of years, but always with an eye to getting the biggest return on that investment. We've won awards from the Institute of Fundraising, Charity Times and Third Sector for our innovative and cost-effective fundraising.
We spend as much of your money as we can on:
Child protection projects
Our projects have been endorsed by the Department for International Development (DFID), Comic Relief and other institutional funders.
Your cash is spent by our teams on the ground who know best where it needs to go. They report back to Head Office on how they've spent it and what impact it is having. If you like Excel spreadsheets then you'd love working here!
It could go towards staff costs to pay for social workers, nurses and teachers at our Centres. Or it could go to help train ones who work for the local government. It could also go towards a project's running costs - like petrol and medical equipment for our Night Ambulance in Kinshasa for example.
What about corruption?
None of our money is channeled through national governments. We can account for every penny that we spend - and need to do so for our own funders. Our financial security procedures are very robust and we can identify any incidents of wrongdoing or mismanagement very quickly.
How can WE work in a conflict zone without everything getting destroyed?
Our neutrality and impartiality is a very important aspect of our work. It's what helps keep us safe on the ground. Both sides tend to respect the work we are doing because we don’t support one side or another in a conflict. We’re just concerned with protecting the children from it. And we expect all sides to a conflict to respect the rights of children and to keep children safe in the areas they control.
Our work is very much about giving children the skills and tools to stay safe and rebuild their own lives. It helps them to become much more resilient to further disruptions and upheavals. We pay for very few buildings (such as schools) that could be occupied or destroyed in a conflict. The informal education and child protection mechanisms we establish can run just as easily from a Displacement Camp as in a village.