Ireland: Thanks to the Staff, Sponsors and Children of ChildFund

By Michael Kiely, CEO, ChildFund Ireland

To commemorate ChildFund’s 75th anniversary, we invited the leaders of each of the 12 ChildFund Alliance member groups to reflect on the past and future of their own organizations and the Alliance. Today, we hear from Ireland.

75th ChildFund logoSeptember 2013 marked my 10th year as chief executive officer of ChildFund Ireland. Throughout the past decade I have been lucky enough to witness immensely positive changes throughout both our own organisation and the wider ChildFund Alliance. This piece is far too short to mention them all, so I will share highlights from the past decade.

On the sponsorship front, we worked hard to streamline sponsorship funds and focus on 11 countries, as compared to 27 in 2003. This means we now can really see an impact that Irish sponsorship funds have on ChildFund work in the field. I have always been a great believer in child sponsorship. On a personal level, I am proud to have helped form the Sponsor Relations Network, which brings even greater efficiencies for the Alliance, our national offices and our sponsors.

Michael Kiely and president of Ireland

Michael Kiely (left) speaks with Ireland Pres. Michael D. Higgins, a supporter of ChildFund’s work.

In terms of grants, ChildFund Ireland received its first grant of €95,000 from Irish Aid in 2003 for a 12-month project in Kenya. In the intervening years, our relationship with Irish Aid has grown, and we now have a four-year multiannual funding agreement that focusses on early childhood development in three countries in Africa, building on the sponsorship-funded programme in the same areas.

Our first forays into the online world came in 2004 with the launch of our first website. This year, we carried out a major overhaul of the site. Visual appeal and navigability have been greatly improved through extensive use of colour, animation and a more intuitive layout, and a whole host of new features have been added. Our social media presence has progressed from limited use of a single platform (Facebook) in 2010 to daily updates on Twitter, photo-sharing on Pinterest and engaging an active community on Facebook.

Michael Kiely in Zavala, Mozambique

Michael in Mozambique with Moses.

In just the last few months, we have introduced a digital newsletter to share our favourite articles with supporters on our email database and created our first Facebook advertising campaign in aid of the ChildFund Alliance Free from Violence and Exploitation campaign. The combination of all of these efforts has meant that traffic to our website has roughly tripled, and readership of articles has multiplied from a few hundred to several thousand per article.

The economic situation in Ireland is well-publicised and has impacted ChildFund’s supporter base. However, perhaps due to the nature of child sponsorship, our cancellation rate has been well below what might have been expected. We are embracing the challenge, and I am indebted to the hard work of my team and the loyalty of our supporters during this difficult time.

Moreover, our increasing public profile means we are well placed to take advantage of the coming improvement in national economic fortunes. I, myself, have enjoyed every year of my time at ChildFund Ireland, and I look forward to many more.

Slán go foill … (good-bye for now).

3 Responses to Ireland: Thanks to the Staff, Sponsors and Children of ChildFund

  • Hi Mick
    Great Post.
    The ten years have passed quickly and ChildFund Ireland has progressed greatly since you became CEO. The staff take great the credit for the organisations development under your stewardship and the children along with the sponsors are in good and safe hands.
    Congratulations to all concerned and keep up the great work.

  • Mick, congrats to you and all your team on your great work. Great knowing you . Great memories of your time in GOAL also. Hi to Ann. all the best, Maura

  • Hi Mick
    Great post and keep the good work going.

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