Spare a thought for the goat counter

imageoutput.phpDid you save a caged bear this Christmas? Buy a hamper for a disadvantaged family in need? Buy medicine for a tiny village in another country? Well done you!

I bet when you purchased your virtual gift you weren’t thinking about how your charity of choice was going to ensure that your gift went to your program of choice.

Whoever came up with the ‘buy a goat’ concept, I’m sure won many marketing awards. Let’s call him Marty. Indeed, Marty had a stroke of brilliance. He came up with a concept which helped people feel they were making a difference. Their small donation, achieved something large… and smelly if all my memories of children’s goat stories serve me well. While Marty was winning awards for his brilliance, there was a data monkey sitting in the corner going grey.

My experience with tied – or designated funding – is inextricably linked to caffeine… and chocolate. Figuring out how to cost services / products, then how to track them reminds me of the “Impossibles” puzzles I once did. It was a jigsaw puzzle with no borders, a repeated pattern and 5 extra pieces that went nowhere. Only difficulty was my puzzle had 4 extra pieces and 2 holes, courtesy of a tortoise shell cat called Miss Piggy who I suspect slept on my puzzle one night and knocked off a couple of pieces which were vaccuumed into oblivion by my mother. Of course, I’m showing my age here because the puzzle seems so ancient no photos of it bless the almighty google images. Instead, I’ve included one of a cow… in purple gumboots. I concede it would be more on topic if it were a goat, but, sometimes I feel like I’m attempting something as difficult as getting a cow to wear purple shoes.

The challenge appears to be that everyone wants to slice the pie differently. Let me give you an example. I’ll return for a moment to my fictitious charity: the Free the Flamingo Foundation. (Yes, I certainly have an animal theme going tonight). It would be really simple if we had two categories of flamingoes – pink and white. Which one do you want to support?

Can donors support a local flamingo? Oh yes of course. What a good idea – donors like to support causes in their local areas. So pink, white, by local area. That’s still manageable.

Oh. You want to support the breeding program rather than the retirement bird program? Ok, now you’re getting a little complicated. So now do I need to track pink ones in the breeding program versus white ones, versus pink geriatric ones?

Add in the flamingo drug rehabilitation program and I want to sacrifice a goat rather than donate one. Marty sure has a lot to answer for.

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Posted on January 16, 2013, in Data, Fundraising and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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