Statistics can be misleading (1)

Robin Low his piece, ‘Good intentions, bad consequences’ (The Business Times Weekend 28 Feb – 1 Mar 2015, Singapore) gives a good example of how one needs to see figures holistically.

Generally, we would like charities or volunteer organisations (VO) channel funds directly to the beneficiaries. In this case, he quotes a comparison of 2 soup kitchens (that give out food to the needy). The first utilises only 60% while the second one uses 90% of its funding/donations. On initial impression, one might say, the beneficiaries are not getting the benefits after all. Yet, Robin then states that the former kitchen have staff that are qualified. They produce clean food and seldom squander food/ingredients. The latter however banked on lower skilled volunteers.

Assuming all things being equal and putting your shoes into the needy and hungry, who would you select? Similarly, as the VO management, which model of operations would you prefer?


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