Call for Creches to be not-for-profit

Having worked in the not-for-profit sector for over 10 years I know that the phrase can conjour up visions of Lemonade Stands, Car boot sales and bag packs. But I know that not-for-profits are some of the most efficiently run organisations and are rigorous about sticking to their missions.

cashcowsIn the light of the RTE Breach of Trust programme last night, one thing struck me (apart from the shock and disappointment as a parent of a child in Giraffe Childcare) and that was – these centres are all run for profit. The single goal of the people involved with setting them up is to make money.

I am not suggesting they don’t care about kids at all, but when you are the senior management of a chain of  crèches your singular focus is revenue and profit. They will argue against this I’m sure, but it was clear last night that each centre needs to turn a profit.

That makes it harder for the staff and management of each centre to focus on childcare, because they will be forever under pressure to meet targets (recruitment of kids, expenditure on toys, food, staff etc…). If you are in any doubt about this – here are the facts (from the Irish Times)

Its last set of publicly available accounts are for the year to the end of April, 2009, and show it lost €206,764 in that period, having made a profit of €241,342 the previous year.

In 2009 the business received a government grant of €280,000, according to the accounts.The directors were paid €329,479. The business employed an average of 392 staff, including three directors, and staff costs were €8.16 million.

I think there is merit in calling on the government to legislate to have childcare facilities set up as not-for-profits. This won’t stop them needing to recruit kids, keep an eye on overheads, but it will ensure that any funds that would go to line the pockets of directors could go into the crèche facility. This may sound simplistic and idealistic, but the current set up isnt working and my sense is that if these centres were run by people who focussed on a mission and not profit, then they would always go back to that mission and would have an ethos of care at their core. This would be better for our kids surely?

Something has to change and this is just one idea, adding a few more inspectors (with planned visits) will be the HSE response and that isnt good enough, the creches are talking about improving procedures and policies – what does that actually mean. Its time to make some real change.

Take 9 minutes to watch this

I hadn’t come across David Foster Wallaces commencement speech (from 2005) – which later was turned into an essay called This Is Water. An excerpt of the speech has been taken and turned into this great 9 minute short, that is truly compelling and is worth watching. If it does nothing it will make you stop and think a bit more. You may not think you have the time, I’d urge you to take it.

Snickers & Google Adwords Campaign

Brilliant campaign by Snickers as part of their “You’re not you when you are hungry” campaign. They recognised that people spell things wrong (maybe its when they are hungry) when searching on google and so they looked at some common search terms and the related mis-spellings of these terms and created an adwords campaign around it. In two days they got 558,589 ad impressions (which was their metric) an impressive 1.05% CTR and 5,874 visitors to their specially branded website.


Clever stuff

(source: Search Engine Watch)

Kit-Kat – Digital Detox

Trendwatching suggested at the start of the year that there would be an increase in Digital Detoxing, where people start to switch off their social media accounts and always on digital devices. Not necessarily for good, but for digital holidays to get away from what can be an overwhelming always on culture. People say digital detoxing can be as difficult as giving up smoking! 

Digital detoxing is said to help people relax, declutter their brains even make you happier! There are apps out there to help to take the plunge like Digital Detox which  irrevocably disables your Android phone for a period of time you specify.  There are Digital Detox holidays with… St. Vincent and the Grenadines asking travelers to leave their technology at home as part of their digital-detox vacation package. Included in the package is a pre-mailed guidebook explaining how to function on a trip without technology and features an onsite life coach who provides advice on how not to let technology control one’s life. ” (Source: Forbes)

Closer to home, Kit-Kat in Amsterdam have tapped into the Digital detox trend with their Free No- Wi-Fi Zone campaign. The idea is simple and taps neatly into the brand promise:

Free WiFi is available everywhere we go. People are constantly online, busy with their electronic gadgets all the time. As Kit Kat we saw that as an opportunity to give people a break. So instead of offering Free WiFi like every other brand, we created a Free No-WiFi Zone. A big sign with a small WiFi jammer that blocked all signals within a five meter radius. By doing that we encouraged people to read a newspaper, a real book or have a genuine conversation again. All while munching on a Kit Kat.

Top 7 Marks Of A Great Client – SOdA report 2013

The SOdA report is well worth a read when it comes out and its free on iTunes or Slideshare. One of the articles I really enjoyed was this one, the top 7 marks of a great client. Its not a client bashing piece by any means, but for clients it helps you look at what you can do to get more out of your agency. And for agencies, you need to read this to see how you can help your clients get more out of you. This is a direct drag and drop from the report, so sorry if the images are low quality. Please do check out the original document here or download it here.

(Source: Stefan TornquistSOdA report, Vol1 2013)Top7Marks1



Deposit Anywhere

Its about making things easier for people – adding value to their lives (this time in the form of time).

Great example of thinking about consumers and how to make their life easier (also reduces footfall to your stores)