This seems like a no brainer, but often times charitable organizations are unintentionally not being as helpful as they think. We continuously work to improve and develop strategies that make our organization as helpful as possible to children, families and communities. While we have dozens of metrics and rules we use to govern ourselves, here are a couple that we get the most compliments on:
Sensitivity towards branding: The Cake Collaboration doesn’t worry about branding when it comes to those whom we help. We intentionally try not "advertise the brand" when we are working with children. We had a generous person make us some super soft t-shirts, so sometimes we wear them, but our intention is to always come alongside and help families, neighbors and local organizations provide opportunities for children to celebrate and play. In our opinion, local leaders, organizations, families and individuals should get the "credit” in the minds of children.
Hypersensitivity towards the overuse/misuse of media: The majority of us are "Millennials," so we obviously care about our social media presence. But we are also very concerned about the overuse of social media when it comes to those who are "helping." We also want our sponsors/donors to have feedback on where their support is going, but any pics we share with sponsors come from those directly involved with an event, with the full permissions of all involved. We DO NOT provide support contingent on the amount/types of media we can get from an event.
The Cake Collaborations wants to model how to work with in and with communities. We are committed that the vast majority of our teams are from the regions in which they work. Along with this we also utilize:
Local resources: We want to support local economies by utilizing local suppliers (bakers, toy stores, catering, etc ). We do this even if this costs much more. We only use outside suppliers if something literally cannot be found in the region we are working.
Staff that makes sense: While we appreciate the good hearted individuals who want to help children all over the world, we want to make sure that we have the most appropriate people for the job. Thus, as a general rule of thumb, any person who interacts with children on behalf of The Cake Collaboration is qualified professionally as well as culturally. This helps us to be as "context sensitive" as possible and nuance our events/parties to the specific needs of children and communities.
Be honest, most of us don't know much about the world, and what we do know is mostly a combo of Hollywood and News headlines. This leads many of us to think that various regions of the world are nothing more than big heap of ugliness (which implicitly dehumanizes the people of the region). Unfortunately, many organizations only reinforce stereotypes when they talk/share about who they serve by focusing primarily on the brokenness of communities. The Cake Collaboration wants to highlight the great things about the cultures and people of our supported regions. We want to highlight the neighbors who are being good neighbors, the local leaders who are being good leaders, and the helpers who are actually helping. Look, we know there are massive problems in the world, but we want our programs, events, parties and their corresponding media to provide a hopeful perspective on the regions we serve. Primarily, we do this through the way we have organized our sponser feedback and leading educational trips.
No matter where we are, we want to share about the global and regional challenges facing refugee children. So, whether we are speaking to business leaders, a church group or even to congress (we haven't yet, but if your a Politician, feel free to email us), The Cake Collaboration wants to advocate for meeting the social and emotional needs of children. We think children should be recognized and celebrated in a way that highlights their unique personhood, value and place in the world.
While The Cake Collaboration's focus will always be on serving the social and emotional needs of children, we are concerned with how much misunderstanding there is towards how charitable organizations raise, use and report back how they use their resources. We want our programs to continually be better, so we regularly review, critique and try to improve methods (including getting outside/objective opinions). Our goal is, obviously, to be as responsible as possible with all that is entrusted to us, but we also want the entire ethos of our organization to be based on truthfulness and self-awareness. If something works, we celebrate; if something doesn’t, we want to be open and honest (even with our donors) in figuring out how to make it better.