“Be part of our future”- a personal letter from KK
This is a personal message from KK. It’s Tiny Toones’ 10th year of working in Cambodia’s toughest communities with its poorest kids and there have been beautiful things happening, like our big birthday party. But we also want to be real with you about our current situation. We are struggling to pay our teachers, the heart of everything we do, and we need to take positive action to fix that and secure our future. We want you to be part of that future.
That’s why we are launching The 100 Club. It’s an exclusive club for just 100 of our best friends, supporters and anyone in the big Tiny Toones family. If you give just $10 every month you automatically become a member and in return you’ll get a totally unique handwritten card every year from me, a student you have helped, and a teacher. You’ll receive some very cool exclusive videos of our kids performing, just for you. Your name will also be featured in our wall of fame, a permanent art work in our Phnom Penh centre (membership would also make a great gift!)
Just $10 a month is enough to pay one of our teachers for a day, who then go on to educate 40 or more kids. Where else can you get that kind of return on investment? If we can sign up 100 of you by the year’s end, that’s at least $1,000 a month – which will cover all our teachers’ basic salaries.
If you already give every month you are already a member of the club! If not, please consider joining.
Why do we need to launch the 100 Club? Most of you know what a small NGO we are, and how low our costs are. But did you know that they are around $70,000 annually? That’s the money for everything – including the rent on our centre, teachers and administration staff – and it’s lower than what some large NGOs might pay a single foreign employee here in Cambodia.
In many ways, we like this. What we offer – dance training to engage and motivate kids who nobody else can reach, and a basic education to help them rejoin the public school system – doesn’t need to cost hundreds of thousands let alone millions of dollars here in Cambodia.
Keeping our costs low means we have to stay laser focused on sticking to what we do best, which is creating a safe and creative space for kids, where they get support and schooling. Not being funded by Government or major institutions means we can reach kids who might otherwise not “qualify” for NGO support, because their families are too chaotic to have the proper paperwork, or are assessed as too dysfunctional.
But the low costs mean we don’t have a huge team of fundraisers and marketers out there to raise cash for us, unlike many NGOs. Our total investment in all communications and fundraising last year was less than $200. Our fundraising and marketing staff for the last year has been a single volunteer, who also has a full time job. And that makes it difficult to compete for funding.
We have been incredibly fortunate this year to receive a grant from the Kavli Foundation, which has paid for the rent on our centre and some other core infrastructure costs. That’s allowed us to focus on our teachers. We need to pay our existing teaching staff, who are already teaching more kids than they should (the total needed is $3,060 for the rest of the year). If we can do that, we need to recruit 3 more teachers, to give our kids an even better chance at catching up on the education missed (that’s $2,700). And if we can do that we hope to increase all the teachers’ salaries by a small amount, after years where they have stayed the same and we have become less competitive with other NGOs.
We have managed to keep going for ten years through the last minute generosity of good friends and individual donations. Now we are looking to create a new more stable future. We are revamping our social enterprise, The Cool Lounge, in order to bring in revenue, and we are looking for further grants. But nothing will bring us greater security and ability to plan ahead than 100 regular givers.
If you can afford it, we love you and we appreciate you. If you can’t, we love you and we understand and if you ever find yourself able to afford a one off donation, that also helps us enormously. Check out our donations website here.
We have lots of exciting things planned and can’t wait to get started, with you on our side.