Compliance with accounting rules as a registered charity is not sufficient. It’s nothing but a basic prerequisite in a financial environment where audits are essential. The question really is: What does one do with Financial Statements? Vision First is a humanitarian agency grown from, and sustained by, community efforts. We wouldn’t exist without the support of individuals who believe we perform essential duties and are a force for change. Our mission is to relieve refugee hardship by harnessing the generosity and resourcefulness of like-minded citizens. We take the view that ACCOUNTABILITY is an obligation to explain our activities to stakeholders and TRANSPARENCY is an obligation to publish independent, verified statements. Although small by funding and staff, our impact is amplified by a unique connection with those we serve and those who evaluate our performance – our members.
To gauge best practices independent reports are essential and audit scrutiny is best. This is the reason Vision First leads by example in the hope of inspiring change. We are pleased to publish our audit and pledges to do so every year. The document below shows that “Donation Income” increased from 395,444 to 924,697 HKD while “Subsidies to Asylum-Seekers and Refugees” grew from 156,552 to 795,452 HKD spent directly on programs. Our team worked a whole year with operating costs of only 27,522 HKD because zero went to administration fees, rental or salaries. How did we do it? Our operating model is unique. We believe in two fundamental principles that unleash creative thinking while optimizing available resources:
a) foster community generosity by sharing the “joy of giving”;
b) it’s a losing battle to “pay one’s way” in this expensive city.
Vision First believes it’s vital for each NGO in our community to unequivocally manifest its values by responding to the legitimate information needs of its stakeholders. It is important that clients, as well as donors, can easily review financials and programs, fundraising and expenses, rents and salaries. This allows the public to verify that donations are used prudently for stated objectives, that the organization is properly managed and – most importantly – that operational priorities match mission statements. Or, in other words, “that we practice what we preach.” Nothing short of this will ensure an NGO attracts new funds, resources and talent for growth in the best interest of society and its beneficiaries.