Published on Friday, 16 December 2011 17:18
Written by David Marler
I used to work in the IT industry. For almost twenty years I walked the computer rooms of such companies as Vodafone, Hutchison (now 3), Qantas and finally Telstra. The end came in the form of retrenchment notice after 7 years with the Big T. Our final day went pretty much unnoticed by the rest of the company as my department quietly packed up their desks. As no managers were present that day, I did my exit interview with a colleague; handed over my building pass and photo ID. There was no confetti thrown as I walked silently out of sliding glass doors and found myself on busy Elizabeth Street in Sydney.
There's not much love in big companies these days. When you work in IT for a while, things tend to become a bit detached from reality. There's always a new buzzword hovering around and someone, somewhere always finds a reason to complain about the colour of their desktop icon. None of it's really that important; becoming a carer grounded me on that. I don't miss working in the office too much, with all the company quirks and idiosyncratic policies.
Having said all the above, there still some great people toiling away in companies. They are the quiet achievers that you notice the most when they are absent. The ones working back late when others have gone home, the ones that make sure the meetings run on time and generally keep the place ticking over. You can sometimes find them in the kitchen dealing with the furry pizza from last years Christmas party. They are the problem solvers and organisational carers. These are the folk I'm most appealing to.
Which brings us to our problem. When I talk donations to charities, respite service providers and foundations, they always tell me the same thing, No one ever donates. If you take a look at the growing list of organisations in our Resource Directory they all have a myriad of Donate buttons of different shapes and sizes, some encouraging you to telephone in your donation and others have a neat little secure form where you can make a pledge. Yet, these buttons show no signs of wear and tear from over clicking.
We sporadically hear about the fundraising events such as those dedicated souls who run the width of the country, crossing the Nullarbor for charity. While we are all well aware of the commitment that keeps something like the Westpac rescue helicopter in the air and are constantly reminded of the dedication of the Ronald McDonald houses, it seems to be the general, garden varitiey donation from mid to large organisations that are not being made. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, at the end of 2007 in the social services section of the Not-for-profit Organisations category, 54.6% of all income to these organisations was delivered by Federal, State and Local government. The rest of the income is made up of sale of goods and income of services (thats if the organisation has the ability to charge for those). The final amount of income is counted at 13.1% and is classified as all other income, which could be donations, fundraising, etc. The total income received by these organisations was $11.7 billion which seems like a lot until you read their total expenses figure of $10.4 billion, mostly accounted for in labour costs.
As you can see, our charities are always operating at the margins. Government grants and funding for them can only go so far. Just like operating your business, the daily cost of expenses such as that of rising fuel for transport are always placing great pressure on these organisations.
Like us at info4carers, families everywhere rely on the support of charities, our respite service providers and foundations for equipment, rest and funding. Our ability to earn has become impacted. Some of us are on a carer or disability pension while others are reduced to a single income where Mum gives up work entirely to become the carer and leaving Dad as the sole breadwinner.
Contrary to popular opinion in the wider community, if you find yourself needing a wheelchair, it doesn't just roll up to your bedside as you're receiving your diagnosis. As my Dad is fond of saying, everything is a bloody fight. Jaden's current wheelchair, his 3rd, cost $9,000 which he will eventually grow out of and for which we must soon start the funding process again. We're still living in a pre-NDIS world here (National Disability Insurance Scheme), it's NDIS BC.
All this got me thinking. How can I now use my IT skills to promote donations; to best use my IT powers for good? How best to enclose the circle of Donors, Charities and the Families they support?
So here's a buzzword of my own. DonorAds or donations for advertising webspace. You might be a philanthropist, director of a multi-national company or perhaps a small to medium business owner. May be you own a local cafe. Here's my pitch; you donate to one of the registered charities, respite service providers or foundations in our resource directory, tell us about it and we'll advertise your product or service on our website for free. It may take the form of a small button with a link, a larger banner or perhaps an article on your service or product.
We'd love to see products that benefit people with a disability and carers but we're happy to promote other companies with a passion for donation. In return you get three compelling benefits:
1. Free Advertising.
2. A Tax Deduction. As defined by the Australia Taxation Office : Deductions for gifts can be claimed by the person or organisation that makes the gift (the donor). A donor can be an individual, company, trust or other type of taxpayer.
3. Stay bookmarked to this website to see where donations go. There's all ready a few articles here showing you the practical application for the money.
There will be a few rules, though. No products that harm people or animals, and goods and services with a "G" rating only. For instance, ads promoting the benefits of Japanese Whaling wont get a run. Of course, we reserve the right to withdraw the advertisement at any time, should a compelling reason arise.
To view our traffic statistics, please click on the "Articles" menu item or follow this link Articles to display the hits (visits) to pages.
Perhaps you're all ready ahead of me on this. If your company is all ready well down the track on donations we'd love to hear about it so please write and tell us. If your favourite charity is not listed in our resource directory and it's relevant to disability, carers or education, please let us know about it also.
Perhaps we could see this initiative will take flight in the mainstream media. The host, such as an online newspaper, might reserve a portion of their advertising web space for DonorAds with companies donating to any registered charity in exchange for it. I'll admit there's not a lot in it for the host, mostly good will and kudos. However, we'd be evolving the old television Community Service Announcement into another medium.
That's my pitch. It's up the flagpole, waving there in the breeze. Now to see if anyone salutes.