Friday, 20 February 2015

Standards of a charity - The magnificent seven

For many, when they are affected by something / someone that moves them emotionally; in many cases there begins the need to start a charity. What then happens is that another organization begins, sometimes duplicating the work of another one, facing scarcity and lack at various levels.

If this seems like an odd thing to read, examine it closely and you'll see that based on observation it isn't.

There's a streak that runs through organizations of all types. The people involved often need to feel a sense of belonging. They want to give back and contribute. They want to ease the burdens of others. However, regardless of the organization, there's a need to have standards to ensure that everyone operates in alignment and on a similar platform with clarity, if not the result can be chaos.

What are some of these standards? Let's highlight a few of the more serious ones below:

  • Transparency - decisions made and actions taken should always be without prejudice
  • Accountability - helps in keeping everyone hones and corruption at bay
  • Fairness - assists in ensuring that everyone is treated equally
  • Documentation - is necessary for posterity and lends to historical value of decisions taken, meetings held, discussions which took place. Documentation can be done physically / virtually utilizing any of the available storage media which are now quite affordable
  • Rules - established the parameters within which everyone operates
  • Compliance - provides the controls to ensure the rules are adhered to
  • Non-discrimination - goes a step further than fairness ensuring that any and all prejudices are eliminated at the root cause
Though there may be others, these "magnificent seven" capture the essence of all the issues. To be truly helpful, the charity must have a loving, yet discerning nature about it. At the Cffb we are committed to these standards and have them documented so that regardless of the individuals in leadership or among the members / volunteers; the organizations will remain true to its mission.

Why do we see the sense of setting standards within a charity? It's because, We're Aware to Care!

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Are they aware of us?

When you're involved in something, it's easy to think that just because you know what your cause that everyone else should know as well. You work hard, putting structure in place all the while trying to ensure that you do the right thing.

In meetings you speak about the vision, mission, objectives, succession, who does what and when. Then before long, you realize that for all that you've done; for all that hard work and the projects that you have put on the plate for future seasons - No one outside the immediate group knows who you are, and to be blunt - neither do they really care.

We were no different. When we mentioned that we're established to help those with Cystic Fibrosis (CF); you should have seen the blank stares. After a pause for an indeterminate amount of time, they would then go....what did you just say?

Just imagine saying to someone that there are people here among us with a rare illness that is quite expensive to treat. They have no point of reference so in their head they go - here's another one. There's going to be always a group of people asking for money for their particular cause. It's that simple. Their cases will be unique in some instances. What we're finding is that as humans, we're diverse with a variety of special health cases. The stories seem to surpass the opportunities for assistance, and in these hard times; budgets are limited.

Guess what? Despite the aforementioned, we can stop. We can't fail the youngsters and their families of those afflicted by Cystic Fibrosis. We're working hard to make the awareness grow, and the truth is, we're under resourced and under capitalized; yet we can't and won't stop.

How are we raising awareness? We will go to where you are!

Take for instance some of the places we have been and are targeting:

  • Universities, colleges, public affairs and their respective events
  • We will host events - walks and galas that will get us noticed 
  • We will use the internet with its opportunities for having websites, using a variety of social media[ including blogs and newsletter
  • We will use traditional media in a planned way - newspapers, radio, television, magazines, and the newsletters of other organizations. 
When we think / focus of the opportunities that are available, we can't dwell on the problems.

We are well structures and becoming better organized, so that we can become the bench mark for charitable organizations. Is it easy? No!

One thing is certain, "We're the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of Barbados", and though you may not know of us yet. you will cause we're building awareness one person at a time. You'll find that as an organization, We're "Aware to Care"!

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Why we need a Gala...

In the realm of fundraising, a gala is one of the nicest ways to raise funds for the host organization when it is done well. On the flip side; there's a load of hard work that needs to go into it so that the goals and objectives are realized.

That being said, we at The Cffb are embarking on this trek of hosting our first of an annual series of gala events. This year we themed it Wine, Diamonds, and Jazz, and made tickets available online via and through the Wine World outlets throughout Barbados.

So now, after all has been said and done. You need to understand why we're doing this. Why do we need a gala? Here are just some of the answers:

  • Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is a very expensive illness that one gets genetically. Many places including Barbados have no medical facilities that can cater to the need of those who have CF. This being said, care must be sought in the metropolitan countries. Who have the specialist medical teams and medications to treat those who have CF. 
  • The medication and care is expensive. Apart from the airfare, accommodations and living expenses. We have on record where care costs a rounded USD$12,000 per month in medication only, which is a stretch for us considering that our salary scales on the island are not that high, they are no major exemptions on medication or the shipping of it, and our currency is on a ratio of USD$1.00 =  BBD$2.00 approximately. Even with medical insurance it is a horrendous costs to the families of CF suffers. 
  • To date we have an identified case, where insurance coverage is not available, and the sufferer is a youngster from a single parent household. 
  • Ideally, each sufferer should have three medical visits annually to ensure that there is no bacteria in the lungs that can cause fatality in the sufferer(s). 
For us, a gala is a time of fellowship, where people of all walks can come together and learn, share, experience, offer care and support to those who are in need. Do we know beforehand who would be interested in such events? No! However the hope is that the event is desireable enough that people would attend to get information that would make them more aware of the circumstances under which others live, trying to do simple things that we often take for granted - like breathe. 

Imagine, having to take so many tablets that it seems like a meal, and though expensive it tastes the same every day. Further, you have to put on a special vest to shake the mucous from your lungs or have a family member strike you repeatedly in the chest and back to shake loose the mucous, and this takes place multiple times daily. 

Further imagine being able to eat the junkiest foods that you can ever imagine all because your body cannot absorb any of the qualities of those foods - good or bad. The thing is, without the benefit of the medication to help in the break down of foods you'll be fully fed yet malnourished - hardly putting on weight and susceptible to almost every illness that seems to pass by in the atmosphere. 

Yes there are additional challenges of this illness and perhaps you'd want to read of them right here. While we can't make you support us as you may not have the means to do so. At least you're now more informed that you can at least spread the word. Who knows? Someone that you know may just be able to help in a significant manner. 

Thank you for reading this far. If you're able to - postpone your valentine celebrations to dine with us. Donations can also be made to Royal Bank of Canada in (Barbados) Limited Account #21007939. Our Charity #7600861. This information is useful for those of you who would not be able to make it.