Sometimes it’s a difficult task finding the best charities to donate to as there are so many worthy ones out there. One thing that many savvy donors are considering these days is the idea of a “social return on their investment”. In the book, “Money Well Spent”, Brest and Harvey (2008:15) talk about the notion of social return on investment meaning that a donor or philanthropist wants to see their limited resources achieve the greatest possible impact. Perhaps this is why we are seeing a trend towards people only supporting those charities that are closest to their hearts, but they support them more regularly.
“Some organizations measure social return by looking at savings to governments resulting from philanthropically funded programs to employ former drug addicts or the developmentally disabled; others focus on the benefits to the individuals served” (Brest and Harvey, 2008:15). Sheltered by Grace is looking at social return based on a self-funded model that will actually save the government and the community money.
In 2010, Melbourne’s Common Ground did a daily cost comparison of accommodating and supporting a chronically homeless person. The amounts are staggering! A hospital bed per day costs $1,100; a mental health bed is $702; an emergency room visit is $439; and prison is $276 per day. These figures are based on statistics that suggest that a homeless person will often access a range of costly crisis services over long periods of time. The solution is to solve the chronic homelessness problem through supported accommodation and organisations like Sheltered by Grace.
We provide 24 hour on site support for our clients and every client has a case management plan to give them the best chance of getting their lies back on track. We are not government funded. Our revenue comes from a portion of our client’s Centrelink payments and covers all of their needs including food, onsite support, electricity, and Internet and phone access. There are no additional outgoings for clients.
Sheltered by Grace is delivering frontline service and actually housing those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. We want to expand our model where some of the other larger charities are getting out of directly housing the homeless due to logistics, increasing insurance and decreasing government funding. In these situations, some charities are becoming more of a brokerage, involved in just trying to match clients with organisations like Sheltered by Grace.
In order for our social return model to expand and really make a difference, we need help to build another 36 beds on our site at Waterford in Logan, and then to purchase the next site. We can only do this with the help of the community. Our model will help alleviate the cost of government funded hospital beds, prison costs and emergency medical care. It was also help to decrease hospital waiting times for the public and assist the people who really need it to get the care and support they need and really transform lives and end homelessness.
We have a large goal at the moment of having 100 people giving $50 every month and we would love it if you would consider being one of our partners, helping us to make social change, transform lives and get a social return on your donation. If you can help us by giving a $50 a month tax-deductible donation to Sheltered by Grace, then together we can make a difference!
If you are not able to donate money, then perhaps goods to help us build our next stage, or even volunteering of time would be possible. Contact the shelter via our enquiry form if you are able to assist. If we work together, then we can solve this wicked problem called Homelessness. More information about how you can help to make a difference and transform homelessness can be found here.
So, if you really want to make a difference with your donations, choose Sheltered by Grace as one of the best charities to donate to to transform lives and end homelessness in Australia – be a part of something big and help us to make change.
Brest, P. and Harvey, H. (2008), “Money Well Spent: A Strategic Plan for Smart Philanthropy”, Blomberg Press: New York.