Wednesday, October 16, 2013

This Will Kill Charity Pie Charts

At the Fundraising Ireland conference this year I suggested we kill pie charts (10% admin, 90% cause) because they're oversimplified and don't encourage donors to ask more questions (eg. Is my donation actually achieving anything).

I suggested we could get really clever and uber-transparent instead by telling the donor everything their donation is being spent on, right down to "1 cent of your donation will be spent on office toilet paper...2 cent of your donation will be spent on light so we can see what we're doing."

Well, someone has done it...but it wasn't for a charity... (funded by Atlantic Philanthropies) have created the briliiant 'Where Does Your Tax Go'. You enter your income and it gives an assumed figure for how much our Government spends on Admin, Education, Foreign Affairs and more. Click on one of these and you get more detail: Someone earning €20k will see €79.50 of their money spent on 'Children'.

I love it. It instils confidence, makes steps towards showing output, and makes each cost seem somehow smaller.

Now imagine it for a charity, with more detail.

Imagine going to donate €100 and seeing that €63 will be spent on the actual food to be distributed.
€3 will be spent on transporting that food (otherwise it can't get there) - on petrol and insurance and maintenance.
€4 will go to Jimmy, Louise and Debbie - they're all fully qualified, have 23 years experience between them and work a minimum 37.5 hours a week (they get 20 holiday days per year).
60 cent will go to the receptionist Doris. She has 3 kids and is a big fan of X-Factor.
50 cent of your donation will be spent on office toilet paper. For hygiene reasons.

And the CEO's pay? Well only €1 of your donation is going to go to the CEO, and that allows her to oversee everything. To ensure your donation is used to the best of our ability and that everyone is working as hard as they can. To ensure we're actually making a difference and improving people's lives. you want to see what we're actually achieving?


  1. Brilliant Simon, surely there must be away for the sector to piggy back on this now the bulk of the development is done. Maybe Atlantic would fund the adaptation for the charity sector?

  2. Grreat blog, really enjoyed reading this. I have recently discovered the amazing work that Listen Call Centre have done on behalf of charities, you should check them out!