Fundraisers catch locals out

2009-08-17 00:00

SEVERAL Pietermaritzburg residents who thought they were opening their hearts and their wallets to support a local charity have been surprised to discover they were donating to an Eastern Cape organisation.

Anil Kumar, finance manager of the Pietermaritzburg branch of Child Welfare SA, said he has been getting calls from concerned people for some time.

“People have called to say they had given money to a telephone fundraising organisation thinking they were donating to Child Welfare Pietermaritzburg. However, they later discovered it was actually for Child Welfare Port Alfred (CWPA).”

Kumar said he had also called several local businesses that donate regularly, only to have them say they had already given recently. On investigation, they discovered they had also given money to Port Alfred and not to the Pietermaritzburg branch.

“I don’t mind people raising funds here for other areas, but they must make it clear who they are collecting for,” he said.

The organisation collecting funds for Port Alfred Child Welfare is KZN Fundraising cc, allegedly owned by Lynn Woyeich. She and a colleague, Michael Naicker, work from premises in Scottsville and CWPA is the only organisation for which they raise funds, she said. Woyeich categorically denied that she and Naicker do not tell people who they are raising funds for.

However, the experience of a local woman who preferred not to be identified, contradicted this. “I had a call from a man who said he was collecting money for Child Welfare. He did not say it was Port Alfred. I agreed to give and he said he would send someone to collect the money and bring a receipt.

“I called the local Child Welfare to discuss it further, but discovered it was definitely not them who had called. They told me not to give anything. When a man called Tony came to collect the money, I refused. I would not have said I would support them if they had said who it was for. I want to support local charity,” she said.

A local businessman said he also received a fundraising call that did not identify the charity as Child Welfare Port Alfred, but a subsequent fax did. “That’s where I picked it up,” he said.

KZN Fundraising cc reports to the appointed CWPA fundraiser, Colraine Beyleveld of Port Elizabeth. She said the organisation was raising funds to buy its own building and hoped to expand this into “a multi-purpose service centre to house other community welfare services”. The organisation does not receive any government funding, so has to rely on fundraising.

Beyleveld said there had been a problem with “the stickers on receipts” and sent The Witness a fax in which she said: “We do a run roughly once every three months and usually … only obtain a small amount from each individual. This does not harm Pietermaritzburg branch at all. Unfortunately, there is jealousy in fundraising, which is quite unnecessary.”

The treasurer of CWPA, Gunther Johannsen, admitted that: “There may have been problems in the past with fundraisers not identifying themselves, but this has been corrected. Mistakes do creep in.”

He expressed concern that Child Welfare not be harmed. “Why shouldn’t we raise funds in Pietermaritzburg? This is a national organisation. There seem to be untapped resources [in Pietermaritzburg] that the local people are not getting to,” he said.

Beyleveld was unhappy about publicity and asked The Witness not to publish a story. In her fax she said: “If anything negative is reported … then all of my staff will lose their jobs. They have children to support.”

The regional director of Child Welfare in the Eastern Cape, Delene Ritter, said: “It’s strange to me that people would not identify who they are raising funds for, but I cannot comment as we need to do our own investigations.”

ANIL KUMAR has raised concerns about KZN Fundraising cc before (The Witness May 11, 2009). At the time he said: “only a portion of the total amount collected actually goes to Child Welfare, but they do not tell people this”.

Woyeich and Beyleveld confirmed this. Beyleveld said: “By law we have to tell people that we are raising funds for Port Alfred but we do not have to tell them that their donations pay salaries first.” The salaries of Beyleveld, Woyeich and Naicker are paid before any money gets to the charity.

Beyleveld declined to say how much she earned or what percentage of the total it was. She said as they are paid on a commission basis, she earned slightly higher than the 20% minimum allowed by law, a figure agreed with CWPA.

Johannsen confirmed this and said: “Our books are audited and our auditors are happy with what she is doing.”

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