Where do the funds we raise actually go?
In 2017 Kiss Goodbye to MS have already raised $730,000 for research into MS and we are on track to reach our target of $1.25 million. We are confident that by the end of this year, with your support, we will have raised a total of $5 million since the campaign began, and all for research into MS.
We like to think that we are punching well above our weight.
Our campaign is managed by just one full-time staff member, that’s me, Richelle King. For the last two years we have brought in a Campaign Assistant for a six month contract to assist with the campaign’s peak period (we have grown so much that there is just too much work for one person)! Our Campaign Assistant this year is Kate Simpson, and she helps our fundraisers with anything and everything, as well as keeping the merchandise in check. We are also grateful to have the assistance of an unpaid intern, Willa, who comes in every week. Kiss Goodbye to MS is run by MS Research Australia, meaning that the small MS Research Australia team also occasionally lend a helping hand.
There is no single way to measure the impact that a not-for-profit is having; most industry experts suggest that you look at a range of factors. Whilst the Cost of Fundraising and use of third-party platforms are just two components of what is a complex story, they are two very important elements. So let me break down how these factors apply to Kiss Goodbye to MS.
In the 2015 calendar year our Cost of Fundraising ratio saw 22.2% spent on fundraising costs, meaning 77.8% was allocated directly to MS research. In 2016 our ratio was 25.2%, which is well below the industry average ratio for fundraising campaigns or events. These costs include everything that is associated with running Kiss Goodbye to MS (salaries, marketing costs, merchandise, website, etc.) We work hard to keep our fundraising costs low, maximising net profit.
The reason we are able to run our campaign with a very lean budget is due to 2 main factors:
- We don’t use ‘traditional’ fundraising approaches, such as hosting our own public events (e.g. charity owned fun runs) which can be incredibly costly. We prefer to support and assist our fundraisers in organising their own events, like balls and gala dinners.
- We don’t use call centres or distribute costly direct mail-outs
- We work with a number of pro bono partners. As an organisation, our pro bono partnerships have the value of over $1 million each year and range from PR support, couriers, graphic design, advertising and many others.
As the Campaign Manager I am proud of our lean budget and approach to fundraising. Let me assure you that every dollar that is donated to Kiss Goodbye to MS goes directly to MS Research Australia. We do not use third party fundraising companies that place people on the streets or in shopping centres. We never have and we never will. If you donate $100 to Kiss Goodbye to MS we receive that full donation. The only exception to this is if you choose to fundraise via a third party digital platform, like Everyday Hero, who absorb a small commission (between 5-10%).
But what we do, and do well, is leverage the advantages of digital technology. We advertise online (with the support of a pro bono media buying agency), we leverage the power of social media, and we rely on our committed fundraisers who are our biggest champions.
I am proud to run Kiss Goodbye to MS, I am proud of our low expenditure, high pro bono engagement and the Aussie MS researchers we fund. But more than that, I am proud of our incredible tribe of supporters. It is because of you that MS Research Australia is able to make the huge impacts that we are making.
By Richelle King
Kiss Goodbye to MS Campaign Manager