APD: Reducing costs and increasing value for the disabled

Wednesday, 28 August, 2002 - 23:00

Association for Persons with Disabilities and the Deaf (APD): Free State APD - Free State is an organisation of and for persons with disabilities.

Association for Persons with Disabilities and the Deaf (APD): Free State

APD - Free State is an organisation of and for persons with disabilities. In addition, with a commitment to serve society at large, the APD - Free State is also serving other marginalised persons, such at those affected by HIV/AIDS and the elderly.

Like most welfare agencies, APD - Free State has struggled to make ends meet, and typically the need (and frequently the expenses) outstripped the funding income. During late 2001, APD revisited its strategy and changed its entire philosophy and approach towards a client-oriented system. The goal: reduce costs and increase value.

This award winning strategy relies on four key components:

  • Develop a larger focus on project-related financing, where it is possible, to create a "client-contractor" relationship that would be the case for traditional government and donor funding. Through its new initiative, APD anticipates deriving 40% of its income from project-related financing. APD revenue budget for 2002/2003 is R5 million, which represents a growth relative of 20 percent to 2001/2002.
  • APD maintains a network of volunteers that support the causes of the organisation and that supply services to the organisation on a pro-bono basis. Traditionally, this volunteer programme has been exclusively focused on individuals delivering operational services at the point of service delivery to the client. However, in its new strategy the volunteer programme has recently been expanded to include more volunteer services at managerial and strategic levels. These volunteers occupy key positions in the private sector, and are willing give valuable free time to help grow and sustain the organisation.
  • While APD has always maintained good relationships with industry, it has recently become much more pro-active in the forging of mutually beneficial relationships and partnerships with key private sector companies. The main focus is to 'contract in' skills that APD cannot afford to maintain themselves, or to 'contract out' services that are non-core to the APD. For example, APD and Technikon Free State Science Park are working together to stimulate innovation and facilitate entrepreneurial approaches to income generation opportunities for people with disabilities.

The impact of these strategies on the organisation's sustainability is substantial. Projects totaling in excess R 2 million have been identified and partners are being sought to co-finance these projects. The expense associated with thirty volunteers, taken at a minimum augmentation of R 1000 per person equates to R360, 000 per year. In addition, the fee that would have been charged to the strategic consultants, even at a strongly discounted rate of R400 per hour (actual rate varies between R800 and R1200 per hour in the private sector), for a minimum of 50 hours per month, equals R240, 000 per year. The increase in budgeted payroll is up 30% from last year's actual payroll expense. This can now be financed with savings on the budget and an increase in budgeted projected income.

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