Wednesday, August 14, 2013

A waste of money

Wellington's "Alternative Giving" campaign has come in for some well-deserved flack over the last month as being the friendly face of a campaign to sweep away the most visible reminders of economic failure. But in addition to that well-deserved criticism, there's also another reason to criticise it: its a complete waste of money.

According to an OIA request filed through FYI, the campaign cost between $34,000 and $40,000, depending on which of the two sets of contradictory figures supplied by WCC you believe. Meanwhile, its attempts to redirect donations to beggars to "better" (meaning less unsightly and morally troubling) causes have raised a grand total of... $452. Digital payment provider PushPay's skim is over eight times as much as the money raised.

If this was intended to actually raise money for the poor, its an expensive failure which has instead directed money to advertising companies. Wellington City Council would have achieved its policy objective better by cutting out the middle-men and giving that $40,000 directly to the charities concerned. But given that the policy objective is in fact to banish beggars and sweep the poor out of sight and out of mind, they're probably well-pleased.