School feels heat from charities

By Carmen Hall

Charities wanting students to fund-raise and volunteer are putting schools under stress, the principal of the Bay's biggest school says.

Otumoetai College head Dave Randell's comments come as charities speak out about how tough it is to raise money, with one warning the sheer number of organisations fighting for the donation dollar will result in some not surviving.

Mr Randell said he was fielding up to one enquiry a week from charities.

"I am inundated with people who want to do all sorts of things in our school and it gets really embarrassing at times to say no," he told the Bay of Plenty Times.

It was difficult to administer the constant requests, he said.

"All these requests are just another burden placed upon us ... it's a matter of co-ordinating where your priorities are and it is quite concerning because I have to try and educate these young people to prepare them for life and keep them in the classroom."

But Mr Randell said the school did support numerous charities and it broadened student life experiences, although it was a balancing act.

CanTeen national marketing manager Kimberley Waters said there was increased pressure in the sector to raise funds through the support of the public and corporate organisations.

"There is no such thing as a bad cause and everyone is deserving of support but I think it is becoming harder," Ms Waters said. Less funding was available through trusts and foundations.

CanTeen relied on support from organisations such as schools, she said.

"There is probably a young person within that school that is living with cancer and because Canteen is a youth organisation there is a synergy there."

Breast Cancer Support Service Tauranga Trust service co-ordinator Lea Lehndorf said the trust had not directly approached schools for donations but had put the idea out there that schools could run their own fund-raisers during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

"It is increasingly hard to raise funds to continue our service and I can imagine it is hard for schools and businesses to have to choose who they can support," Ms Lehndorf said.

Food Bank Community Trust chairman Mike Baker said about 90 per cent of local schools supported its annual appeal week in August and last year school's raised the equivalent of $30,000 in food.

"It's absolutely critical to us ... what I always say when I give presentations to schools is that I can guarantee that this week one of your kids will be fed from food through the food bank."

Tauranga Girls' College principal Pauline Cowens said the school received letters from charities seeking support.

"With four student councils we do fund-raise and assist with collections for charities. We support charities that directly impact our local area ... "

Tauranga Boys' College acting principal Ian Stuart said the school helped charities when it could. "Our major fund-raiser for charity is the local food bank. Last year boys, families and staff members donated over 10,000 cans of goods along with 1.5 tonnes of rice."

By the numbers

  • 26,462 NZ- registered charities on July 11

  • 25,562 NZ-registered charities October 21, 2010


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