Charities on offer were all good, heart strings organisations such as Ronald McDonald House and Blind Foundation, but I struggled to think which organisation would actually get the most benefit from my cardboard disc.
RMH houses I am sure are a great comfort for families with sick children, and do a great job in galvanising volunteers. I did start to wonder about just how much McDonalds puts into the Ronald McDonald Homes. So I have had a look through their latest available (2014) financial statements on the charities office website.
In Christchurch, their operational service made a small deficit of just under $2k in 2014. 78% of revenue largely comes (I assume) from Ministry of Health – taxpayers – in an accommodation grant for families. They also had an interest revenue of $83k. Invercargill’s is a bit less balanced, running at a deficit of $58k.
However, over the top of this is their fundraising account. In Christchurch it cost them $432k to generate $1.266m. So that’s around 34% of the costs to get money in the door, leaving them 66%. I think that’s pretty good: from some googling last year I found out fund raising costs can be anywhere between 20% and 80%.
Now, in terms of money from McDonalds for the South Island locations… well, it’s hard to say. In the accounts we can see money from money boxes, of $15k. I think this comes from the in store boxes, so is the money from customers. In the accounts there is not enough broken down to see corporate support, although they are mentioned as a room sponsor, along with another 24 large and small business room sponsors. And this contribution to their fundraising efforts are $122k. Most of the $1.266m comes from events, at $371k. And this money seems to go into reserves. So in 2014 they were able to add an additional year’s operating cost to their reserves.
At the national level there is Ronald McDonald House Charities NZ. It looks like their job is to provide operational grants to the regional bodies. This body has total trust capital of $8.9m, with $3m in the bank, and a few loans out to operational RMHs in the country. In 2014 customer donations accounted for $662k of their total $1.4m revenue. Two things: the accounts do not identify specific grants from McDonalds corporate, nor did RMHSI receive any operational support in 2014 from the national body, presumably because they didn’t actually need any.
Needless to say, my cardboard disc did not end up in the RMDSI Good in the Hood box. But apparently most people disagree with me. While I totally agree that the cause is certainly worthy, and I cannot imagine the pain and support required of having a really ill child, I am not sure that financial support is required at this stage. It would be quite enlightening to see the actual amount of McDonald’s support for them to have such a brand halo effect: given the amount of operational support provided (presumably) by Ministry of Health, perhaps a rebrand is required? And perhaps corporates could utilise their enormous power for good by understanding great organisations which actually need support.
Balancing the heart and the head is a real challenge in not for profit. But in a world of finite resources, I reckon it would be useful to have less photos and more transparency.
Would love to talk to you if you think this is quite interesting.