Six basics of wise giving:
2. Know your community
Do you know your community? Do some homework to understand the greatest needs of children so you can choose what activities to support. Allow sufficient time to talk to local service providers and communities to determine their greatest needs, or use a researcher with local knowledge to do community consultation.
Develop a good picture of your target community’s needs, gaps and the main issues related to child wellbeing. Before you do so, become familiar with the 'What do kids need?' section and 'Where to target your giving' to understand the breadth of needs of children and how you can make a difference.
A child-centred profile of your community can include:
- a data analysis of the community, for example census population data show how many children reside in different areas; children’s health, education and justice outcomes data are publicly available from District Health Boards, Ministry of Education, and Police
- the level of ‘deprivation’ (there is a useful online tool here from the 2013 census to help identify this at suburb level)
- an ‘asset map’ of the area, such as recreation facilities for children, playgrounds, parks, sports, education facilities, health providers, social service providers
- the roles of existing organisations, such as non-government organisations (NGOs) delivering services, other funders, local government, other government institutions
- a stock take of what services and supports are currently being delivered to children, their families and whānau, and perceptions of where the gaps lie, and/or
- a survey of stakeholders to collate their knowledge on the above pieces of the picture.
Other organisations (e.g. local government, other philanthropic trusts or academics) may already have undertaken parts of this ‘environment scan’ and may share their analysis with you.
You should ask where do you fit into the community and what is your role. Ask who else is funding similar initiatives and, where feasible, develop a joined-up process to ensure that funding does not duplicate unnecessarily and works in concert to achieve your goals.
The Family and Community Services website lists NGOs that provide supports for families and communities. Many receive fees for services to the government but also do work in addition to those contracted services. They seek funding from a variety of sources for their additional work.
We have listed some potential contacts in the "50+ ideas" downloads for each of the six areas of childhood need - to help you identify potential sources of the information you need in each of those areas, e.g. education, health.