Sleeping Children Around the World

Annual Report

March 1, 2008 - February 28, 2009

The “Year of the Millionth Bedkit”

This achievement typified this past year. This has been a year of cycles, some have been completed and others started.

With our projections showing that the one-millionth bedkit would be given out during 2009 this past year has been a year of planning for this achievement. The approach was one of celebration but also “business as usual” due to the dynamic times and the wish to continually focus on the children and the bedkits.

The larger picture of this past year was the acknowledgement of a global recession and the realities that were the result. The “boom” years had come to an end. The impact on our donations was uncertain but the impact of low interest rates on the revenue generated by our Legacy Account covering administrative costs was immediate.

The Pinehurst Club under the leadership of the Dream Team and Duncan Macgregor took shape with the objective of having its inaugural breakfast in April 2009 with the monies generated going to the Legacy Fund to “keep the dream alive”. A new and ambitious Pinehurst Club Committee was formed under the leadership of John Hercus, All is in place for a successful first venture.

It became evident that in order to provide a bedkit for our African countries that included a special mosquito net, a Long Lasting Insecticide Net (LLIN) approved by the World Health Organization, we would need to increase the price of a bedkit from $30.00 to $35.00. As the cost of a bedkit had been $30.00 since 1990 this change was a significant and rather complex task. Initiated in June 2008 with a notice to our donors it was fully and successfully implemented by December 2008.

With the continuation in growth of donations it became evident that the computer program that Maurice Kowanetz had created and had continually modified to meet SCAW’s changing demands, needed to be replaced. This plus the retraining of the office volunteers in its use was a huge undertaking. Maurice devoted countless hours to this project. It was a complete success.

As of February 28, 2009 the financial picture for the 2008/2009 fiscal year was:

  • Regular Bedkit Donations: $2,191,541.00 (10% higher than 2007/2008).
  • Pinehurst Club Donations: $49,900.00
  • Bedkits Funded: 70,380
  • Countries of Distribution: Philippines, Bangladesh, India, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Togo, Honduras and Nicaragua.

EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE ( meetings, Feb. 29, June 6, Oct. 3, and Jan.16/09)

This committee under the leadership of Laura Harper continues to be our “hub.” This is the venue for in-depth discussion of all major issues. However a conscious effort was made to shift more discussion/decisions to other committees with more specific mandates in order to limit the length of Executive Committee meetings. This was successful.

The following is a summary of the items dealt with at the Executive Committee many of which were then passed on to the Board for consideration or put into place immediately through the Executive Director Linda Webb:

  • Strategic Plan: with SCAW’s original goal of one million bedkits about to be realized a new Strategic Plan initiative was begun under the leadership of a new volunteer Jeff Blackburn. This initiative to be completed by October 2009.
  • Regional Meeting of Volunteers: This initial meeting was held in Stratford in April 2008 under the leadership of Richard and Joan Hryniw
  • An Annual Review of Committees and Responsibilities was conducted in September with all members of the Executive Committee. Its focus was to discuss job descriptions, time commitments, stumbling blocks, and wish list items as well as question committee members as to their perception of SCAW’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Succession plans were a focus and it was realized that this is an area that needs attention as we move forward.
  • The establishment of the guidelines for the “One Millionth Bedkit.”

ADMINISTRATION

  • * More volunteers added with an emphasis on getting them in place for the busy Christmas rush
  • PayPal process revised to make it more user friendly. Also more office volunteers trained to handle the increased volume of online donations.*
  • 7 computers now in use to handle the administrative needs at Pinehurst
  • * more cameras donated by Darcy Rector to meet the growing demands of our distribution teams
  • Policy additions and modifications are now made more easily and are more easily available from the SCAW website.

28 PINEHURST (THE OFFICE)

The House Committee has tended to the necessary upkeep and gardening needed to have 28 Pinehurst present well to the community. We have neighbours that have helped us with the gardening and snow shoveling and missionaries from the Church of the Latter Day Saints that have kindly committed to cutting the lawn and helping with other house and lawn maintenance.

COMMUNICATIONS COMMITTEE

Lynette Jenkins, the chair of the committee, withdrew from this role but continued to be very active in other aspects of SCAW. During the year the committee:

  • Held two Information Sessions for Prospective Travelling Volunteers
  • Organized an Open House that was attended by 59 SCAW volunteers
  • Reviewed and revised policy D23, Expectations for Newsletter Articles.
  • An “all volunteer phone call initiative” to keep our volunteers up-to-date with information about SCAW. The Dream Team and PR/Media were also involved.

DISTRIBUTION COMMITTEE

It was decided to include all Board members in this committee as much time had been previously required at Board meetings to provide those directors with the information needed to make decisions. This committee was faced with many difficult decisions including:

  • Canceling a scheduled distribution to Sri Lanka due to the unsafe conditions resulting from a conflict between the government and Tamil rebels.
  • Postponing the March 2008 distribution to Kenya until the civil unrest subsided. The distribution was held successfully in June 2008.
  • Approving a November 2008 distribution to a new country, Nicaragua, Clarence Deyoung made a “scouting” trip to Nicaragua in June that enabled the Board to make a quick but informed decision to proceed with the distribution of 4000 bedkits.
  • Designating the Pune distribution in February 2009 as a “Dryden Family” distribution in honor of Murray Dryden’s first SCAW distribution that was held in Pune in 1970.
    Holding two meetings for Team Leaders.
  • Deciding to split the large Mumbai distribution into 3 smaller distributions (Mumbai, Pune and Belgaum).
  • Canvassing the Overseas Volunteer Organizations (OVO) to get their input on the items in the bedkit and the ages of the children.
  • Initiating the planning of a special initiative in celebrating the one-millionth bedkit by holding a distribution in the Spiti Valley, northern India. This distribution is in compliance with SCAW’s Mission and Core Values but does not conform to the normal criteria that are used to determine the appropriateness of a distribution. In this distribution we will be working with the Trans Himalayan Aid Society (TRAS).
  • Initiating a project to identify, select and train new team leaders and to provide for the in servicing of our current team leaders.
  • Reviewing the current Contingency Insurance policy to ascertain whether SCAW is getting the best possible information of country conditions prior to the SCAW team’s departure for a distribution. After lengthy consideration it was decided to go with a new provider and insurance agent.

THE DREAM TEAM

Initiatives include:

  • A group of 3 volunteers who will target donations from the Foundations and Grants sectors. As of February 2009 this group is ready to begin by using the Metasoft Search Engine.
  • A number of items to promote the SCAW “brand” (hats, business cards, address labels)
    The trade marking of the SCAW logo (now completed)
  • Ongoing speaking engagements to schools, churches, and service clubs continue with the “school section” and Grant Clark completing a unique project with the Brantford/Haldiman Catholic School Board raising over $53,000.00 for bedkits.

THE DREAM TEAM COMMITTEE AND PUBLIC/MEDIA RELATIONS

The responsibilities of these two entities are of necessity and practicality very intertwined. This year the synergies to be gained were significant and evident.

Grant Clark (Public/Media Relations) and Duncan Macgregor (Marketing, The Dream Team) worked in tandem on a Planned Giving initiative and suggested that a more focused approach be adopted.

The Pinehurst Club, a spin-off of the Dream Team benefited greatly from Grant’s input. Grant received much appreciated advice from the public relations/media firm, Maverick.

PUBLIC/MEDIA RELATIONS

Grant worked with Executive Director Linda Webb to develop 1/3 of a page inserts to be included in the two mailed communications to donors. These insert were to inform our donors of significant changes/initiative. These included the increase in the price of a bedkit to $35.00 and the fact that 2009 would be the year of the one-millionth bedkit.

In the realm of Media Relations increasing exposure is being gained locally and nationally. Grant and Maverick have been working to enhance the opportunities for our traveling volunteers to get more local media exposure.

THE FINANCE COMMITTEE

The uncertain economy and its impact on our donations and Legacy Account, as well as our bedkit price increase made for many in-depth discussions and recommendations from the Finance Committee under the leadership of Ted Swanston.

The recommendations that were brought forward to the Board and received approval included:

  • The Investment Account now described as The Legacy Account
  • The change to TD Waterhouse Investments and Rodney Miller for investment advice with regard to The Legacy Account
  • The annual audit
  • RBC’s offer to transfer SCAW money to our OVOs through their Capital Markets Group so that India, the Philippines and Kenya can receive SCAW monies in local currencies thus providing a savings for SCAW
  • Amendments to SCAW’s Investment Policy

Throughout 2008/2009 Ted and the committee closely monitored the donations received and passed on timely advice regarding the numbers of bedkits that could be distributed. They also kept the Board up-dated on the monies available from the Legacy Account needed for the payment of administrative costs.

THE WEBSITE

The SCAW website continues to evolve. Hugely important to the organization, when a question is asked the oft used response is, ”Check it out on our website”.

Even for our SCAW teams overseas on a distribution the SCAW website is the source for all procedures, policies and communications. Milton continues to work with the team leaders to ensure that bedkit photos, candid pictures and Newsletter articles are dealt with in the prescribed manner.

THE BOARD

In the past we have held our Board meeting in the evening following the Executive Committee meeting. It was suggested that having the Board meeting the day after the Executive Committee meeting would allow for the necessary thought and reflection needed to make informed decisions. This was tried at our last Board meeting and was very successful.

All of the directors are now also members of the Distribution and Executive Committees. This affords them the opportunity of hearing first hand any issues discussed thus saving time at Board meetings.

THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

When looking at the above descriptions of all that has gone on at Sleeping Children this year one might conclude that SCAW has been a very busy and productive organization.

However what is described above is only a small portion of what has gone on this year.

Spend a couple of hours at Pinehurst and you realize the importance of Linda and the office volunteers. It is all about the details, the ones that the casual observer has no idea about. This is the heart of Sleeping Children.

As we imagine the future we must first imagine the impact that growth will have on those at Pinehurst.

If only they took it more seriously and didn’t laugh so much!!

 

Considering the slump in the overall economy 2008/2009 has been a very pleasant surprise as our donations have continued to grow. The November to January period, always our busiest time, was up over 20% this year.

It is evident that growth, while desirable, brings with it added complications to the way that Sleeping Children operates.

One of the issues is the need to increase the number of our office and special project volunteers. We have always in the past looked to our existing volunteers to fill any voids or have asked them for referrals. We have begun to seek new volunteers from outside these internal sources and have used Charity Village and Volunteer Toronto as resources.

I was recently interviewed for a magazine article. The interviewer asked, “What would your parents say to you now that the goal of one million bedkits has been achieved?”

I can’t presume to know Mom’s and Dad’s thoughts but I still feel comfortable with my response.

Dad would have send, “Well done! Now let’s get back at it, there’s still a lot more to be done.”

Mom would have smiled.

Thanks

Submitted by Dave Dryden, Chair
SCAW Board of Directors
March, 2009

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