Sleeping Children Around the World
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:
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:
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.
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:
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:
THE DREAM TEAM
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.
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:
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 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.
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.
Submitted by Dave Dryden, Chair