Giving Hope to the Future through Education

    Charting Our Impact
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"Sometimes it is the smallest action that can change a life forever."
                                                                                           - Keri Russell

Charting Impact-Avivara
Is Avivara making a difference?
This is a question many donors ask, and it is one we continue to reflect on as well. From the feedback we get from teachers and parents, yes, we are making a significant difference in the education being received by their students and children.
Teachers here (in Guatemala) often comment to us that we are one of the few organizations that actually listens to and responds to their needs, and to the needs of their students. Also, in the more formal evaluations we receive from the teachers at the end of each school year, they are very clear in stating that the materials and supplies we bring to the schools have greatly helped in improving attendance and supporting better instruction in the classroom.

In a recent study of the relationships between NGOs working in education in Guatemala and the Formal Education Sector (the Guatemalan Ministry of Education), the author of that study stated:

"Only one NGO (Avivara) is being identified as having an active partnership that is cooperative in nature. This NGO raises funding for school supplies and then gives the local Guatemalan teaching staff the authority to decide exactly how they would like to spend that money in order to equip their classroom for the year. This seemed like an exceptional interaction because both the local staff (teachers and directors) and the NGO are using the same strategies (school supplies and shared decision-making authority) to reach the same end goal (quality education and well equipped classrooms and teachers). Because there was a high level of shared decision making authority about how the money would be used and to what end, this example stood out amongst the others."

(Source: J. Carter, Beyond PRONADE: NGOs and the Formal Education Sector in Guatemala, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, 2012.)

We can also look at the performance of Avivara as measured by the charity rating organization, Charity Navigator. Although we are too small an organization in terms of revenues to be listed on their site, we have used their rating system to self-evaluate our performance. The table to the right shows that if we were to be rated by Charity Navigator using their standards, we would receive a four star rating, their highest possible ranking.

  Organizational Efficiency

      Program Expenditures
 8.8  10.0    
      Administrative Expenses
 4%  10.0  10.0    
      Fundraising Expenses
 8%  10.0  10.0    
      Fundraising Efficiency
 0.05/$1  10.0  10.0    
        Total Organizational Efficiency
   38.8  40.0  ****  
   Organizational Capacity
      Revenue Growth
 55%/yr  10.0  10.0    
      Program Expenditure Growth
 48%/yr  10.0  10.0    
      Working Capital/Budget Ratio
 0.97/1.0  7.5  10.0    
        Total Organizational Capacity
   27.5  30.0  ****  

In addition, we have been rated as a Trusted Partner by Guide Star which indicates that we have met their criteria for being transparent and complete in our financial reporting as well as documenting our policies and procedures regarding review and oversight over all aspects of our organization.

How will my donation be used?

We maintain a firm and ongoing commitment to our donors to ensure that their contributions are used wisely and appropriately. Therefore, we adhere to the Standards for Charitable Accountability as developed by the U.S. Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance. And, as you can see from the graph to the left, since our inception in 2008, over 91% of our expenditures have gone directly towards our programs. (Truthfully, it costs money to raise money and administer it appropriately, so we have established accounting procedures that accurately describe our fund-raising and administrative expenses. Therefore, we will never make the exaggerated claim that 100% of your donation will go to programs.)

Thank you again for your desire to create a more just world through the power and dignity of education. Your contribution does have an IMPACT!

While we know we use our donations wisely and effectively, it is still very difficult to quantitatively measure the impact of our work, since there is currently no standardized measurement of student learning being widely used in Guatemala. As an alternative to that situation, we have begun to work with teachers on how to use a relative simple test of reading fluency (the EGRA) which can help them measure their student's growth in beginning reading skills. We are also working on developing other assessment tools that can help us identify where our help is having the most impact.

On a more strategic level, Avivara was one the very first non-profits in the United States to complete the recently introduced Charting Impact process. This set of 5 questions was created by Guidestar and the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance to help non-profits assess their organizational direction, capabilities and effectiveness. A copy of that report in PDF format can be viewed or downloaded by using the link below.

Interestingly, from that process we confirmed the following:

  • We know exactly what we are trying to do: Improve the quality of and access to education in Guatemala.
  • We know why we are doing it: To reduce poverty, achieve greater social equality, reduce infant and maternal mortality, and maintain social stability in the rural villages.
  • We know how we can do it: With Grants to Schools, Scholarships, and After-School Learning Centers.
  • We have the skills to do it: Experience, tenacity, cultural sensitivity, and the ability to form strong partnerships.
  • We know where we want to go in the future: Increase support for teachers through added workshops, materials and coaching, and to expand our scholarship support for students who wish to continue their studies on into high school and university.
  • We have a supportive and growing network of donors and volunteers to help us accomplish our goals.
"Donors don't support a cause because of its efficiency; they support a cause for the impact that it secures for society as a whole."   
                                                            - Andrew Wall, President & CEO, Association of Fundraising Professionals  

So, IS Avivara making a difference? We emphatically answer YES!  
Because of the generosity of our donors:

Don Pancho Students

The students at Don Pancho School have books and student supplies.

Delivering Desks to El Yalu

The classrooms in El Yalu have desks for their primary grades.

Maria Asuncion

Maria Asuncion is the first person from her village to attend high school.

Delivering supplies to Don Pancho

Teachers receive regular deliveries of much needed teaching materials.

Pacul Computer Lab Construction

A new computer lab has been constructed at the school in San Jose Pacul.

Gustavo Valle-Avivara

Gustavo is able to work towards his vision of a quality education for the children in Guatemala.

Would you like to help? You can!


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