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Trust could benefit from Canterbury student research

Trust helping people could benefit from Canterbury student research

June 11, 2014

A Canterbury trust helping people with cerebral palsy, motor disorder and other neurological conditions is likely to benefit from research by a group of University of Canterbury students.

Students Hank Feng, Hannah Jarrod, Vivian Booth, Dan Cheal and Yana Selyuk studied the Adult Conductive Education Trust and found it was not ideal for the trust to specifically target corporate sponsors and recommended the trust expand their donor base by appealing to individuals.

The students are part of the University of Canterbury Students’ Association club 180 Degrees Consulting. The 180 Degrees organisation is the world's largest student-driven consultancy, operating in 18 countries. They help charities and not-for-profit organisations achieve greater social impact. The Canterbury students are not receiving credits for the work but were all committed to community engagement.

The trust was set up by a group of concerned parents to help people with cerebral palsy and motor disorder because they no longer have access to funded physical therapy once they reach the age of 21. The trust wants to provide people with cerebral palsy and motor disorders with ongoing physical therapy but they need funding to employ someone to carry out the work.

The students collected data through academic research and an online survey of local Christchurch businesses. Results indicated businesses might not be the ideal target audience for the trust as businesses contribute only six percent of New Zealand’s overall donations, according to Giving New Zealand.

Student team leader Hank Feng says charities needed to be more innovative by using creative social media and promotional video to gain a competitive advantage.

``We suggested to the trust to target individuals for donations and to market the trust through the internet to increase their exposure and funding. The charity operates every two weeks on a Saturday morning out of a small school facility in Addington.Their limited funds prevent them from hiring a full-time staff member and being able to provide regular classes during week days.

``Statistics show New Zealanders gave $2.67 billion to charitable and community causes in 2011. Of the $2.67 billion, 58 percent are from individuals, 36% from trusts and foundations and six percent from businesses. If the trust produces a short video to appeal to future donors and then create a social profile online through Telecom funded website, Givealittle it should increase its funding,’’ Feng says.


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