It’s hard to put a figure on changing lives
Cancer Council can only do its best with long-term funding, explains Penny Egan
HAPPY New Year to all of Cancer Council Tasmania’s many supporters statewide.
Surviving in business is all about profit and cash. We are a business. Cancer Council Tasmania won the 2018 Telstra Business Award Social Change Maker Category.
We rely principally on the generosity of the Tasmanian public for funds to operate the business and we must make well-informed decisions on how that money is spent to ensure we can provide quality and relevant services to Tasmanians.
Financial statements measure the financial profit. Many systems can measure outputs, but measuring nonfinancial outcomes is not so easy to report.
How do you measure the smile you have put on someone’s face or the call you may have received thanking you for being there when they needed someone to listen or speak to.
These are such important measures, but not always the measures that appease the reporting requirements of grantees and governments.
A measure is assessing the importance, effect or value of something. Sometimes they are not tangible but they are memorable.
Information abounds on what we need to measure and why. For any business there are reasons to measure outputs and outcomes. Outputs are numeric but outcomes can be euphoric.
Many not-for-profits will have submitted their state budget submissions to Treasury in December.
We remain hopeful each year the government will support us through additional financial support for our programs and activities.
The State Government obviously has its priorities and challenges with a growing and ageing population, education participation, unemployment, low employment growth, high rates of socioeconomic disadvantage, poor health and rising health costs and housing affordability. The list is seemingly endless.
Cancer Council Tasmania understands these priorities — we live here, we work here and our clients are here.
Many of the Government’s priorities and challenges are also ours. Tasmania’s growing and ageing population impacts on many not-for-profits.
We want to assist the needs of our community but without secure funding the inputs are problematic and the outcomes are immeasurable. More is not always better. Better is better.
But we also know that new and ongoing investment can make a difference to our clients when the investment translates into sustainable, relevant and quality programs.
Sometimes the outcomes will not be seen in the short term but we must, at an appropriate point, be able to assess the extent to which it has achieved intended results.
Governments want to see outcomes, we all do.
Election cycles and terms of government don’t always allow time for the evaluation of investment to ascertain what has been achieved.
A recent study outlined that the most important goal of evaluation is not to determine whether a program works, but how to make a program better over time.
This translates to business improvement. We all need to do this to survive.
Cancer does not rest and neither do we. Cancer Council Tasmania will continue to work diligently, cleverly and prudently to improve and grow our programs to support Tasmanians affected by cancer. Last year we provided 5300 occasions of support and connected with 4500 Tasmanians on how to reduce their cancer risk. But every day, nine Tasmanians receive a cancer diagnosis. Cancer Council Tasmania is there for those Tasmanians, their families and friends, as they live through and hopefully survive initial diagnosis.
Staying safe and healthy in 2019 are good outcomes to be achieved. May we all do that.