You may have read or heard critical media coverage of aid agencies recently and you may have found this worrying or upsetting. Perhaps you are now wondering whether your support really does make a difference, or whether Save the Children is worthy of that support. We can understand this and so we want to reassure you.
We value your support enormously. Save the Children is nothing without you, the people who enable us to save children’s lives and fight for their rights. If we make a real difference to children’s lives every single day – and we do: last year alone we reached 10 million children – it is because you give us your time, your money and your commitment.
You place great trust in us, and we are determined to live up to it. We use your money carefully and efficiently, to save as many children’s lives as possible, and we are accountable and transparent about how we do that.
The results are figures you, and we, can be really proud of. Last year, we saw the biggest ever fall in child deaths from preventable illnesses such as pneumonia and diarrhoea. Since 1990, the number of children dying unnecessarily has been cut almost in half, from 12 million a year to 6.9 million. Save the Children has helped make this happen. None of this would have been possible without our supporters.
If we keep up our current momentum, we could be the first generation to stop children dying from preventable illnesses and hunger. Millions of children could be protected from malnutrition, able to go to school and fulfill their potential. Millions of others, caught through no fault of their own in warzones, could be fed, vaccinated and cared for, as they currently are in Zaatari, the sprawling refugee camp in Jordan where Save the Children is feeding 130,000 people every single day.
But we will not achieve this ambition without an organisation that can rise to the challenge. Business as usual is not an option.
To ensure that we do, we have dramatically changed the way we work, transforming every area of our operations and setting new, more demanding targets. And it is working. In the past five years, Save the Children’s income has nearly doubled, and we recruited 100,000 new supporters in the last year alone. The result? Where we reached 7.25 million children in 2008, last year we were able to help 10 million – the most in our 94-year history.
We never lose sight of where the money to achieve this change comes from and our responsibility to you, our supporters, to use it as effectively and efficiently as possible runs through everything we do. We spend 88p from every pound we receive directly on helping children. And we’ve always been very open about using 11p from each pound to raise the next £1. Just one penny is allocated for governance and other costs – the executive salaries criticised are among the costs drawn from this single penny.
Working for Save the Children is a privilege: we help save children’s lives. We shouldn’t pay as much as the private sector and we don’t, but we are not ashamed of doing what it takes to get the best people to help our cause. Running a complicated organisation takes great expertise and is an enormous responsibility. We operate long-term aid programmes in all sorts of places, some of them dangerous or hard to reach. We respond with swift help when emergencies such as floods or earthquakes strike. We send staff into warzones.
All of this is important: there are children in those places who need our help. But the people who oversee all this need to be very, very good at what they do. They need training, years of experience, intelligence and judgement. We believe that we have the best people in place to do all that, and that we pay them appropriately, even though we don’t and can’t offer the kind of remuneration that the private sector could give them.
We hope that this message makes things a little clearer. Our supporters play a vital role in Save the Children’s ability to deliver real, lasting change for children, through personal donations, fundraising, campaigning, changing minds, spreading the word and all kinds of inspired and inspiring acts. Simply knowing that you are out there, sharing our ambition for change, caring passionately about helping children today and every day, makes us stronger and more effective.
Without your hard work and commitment we simply could not have the impact for children that we do. We wouldn’t raise the vital awareness that helps us to secure even more support from companies and individuals. Every pound you raise and every minute of time you give is precious.
You should be proud of what you have helped to achieve for children. We are certainly proud to have your support. Working together, we have made a difference for so many and we will do more in future. Thank you.
Read more: Save the Children CEO Justin Forsyth writes about the ways in which international aid is achieving its goals
Contact us: if you have further questions, you can contact us here