Postal costs for incoming parcels has risen alarmingly since mid-April because of a new rule that ALL overseas parcels attract the customary handling fee and that has been increased to R51.50 PER PARCEL[$3.74USD].  In past years the fees were lower and graduated (ie. R24.00[$1.74USD] for a small parcel / R40[$2.91USD] for a large parcel) but that has been changed. 

In the past only around 20% of the incoming parcels attracted the levy, now ALL parcels are included in the calculation. So, for instance, in the past KAS would normally pay between R750[$54.52USD] and R1500[$109.03USD] for an incoming postal collection, this week Ronda paid R2200.00[$159.91USD]and on at least two occasions in late April and May she paid approximately R3500[$254USD].

It is unfair, but the postal authorities have spotted a lucrative gap in the system and they are completely unmoved by a charitable enterprise being penalized.  These are not customs tariffs, KAS never pays those - they send parcels back for re-assessment and they always come back free of customs.

The bank balance reduces monthly as costs to run KAS this year have risen[see graph] We are looking for ways to cut costs, but with PO charges going up, with fuel costs increasing dramatically in SA and generally prices rising across the board ... KAS needs your support

Our monthly donors continue to be the backbone of financial support

for Knit-a-Square. 

These monthly donations allow KAS to continue to serve the children of South Africa. 

Thanks to generous one-time donations and numerous purchases in the KAS Shop, the May total has surpassed our expectations.

However, Ronda is being hit with a charge for every parcel arriving at the moment - the postal services are trying to make a profit at our expense! We will need extra help financially until such time this issue can be resolved. The most effective method is a regular subscription as this develops a sense of growth and hitting a target more likely!



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  • Andrea posted on Sunday "The only hiccup I can foresee is that all funds from the shop go to one PayPal account and therefore get lumped altogether. It might add more stress to Ronda to not only keep track of how much money was sent for yarn but also to go and purchase the yarn herself. I wish there was an easier way!"

    Quick question, Andrea. do you know if there are TWO Paypal accounts - one for ongoing monthly donations and one-offs and another for income from the KAS Shop?

    The last thing in the world we want to do is complicate Ronda's life or make more work for her.

    If the KAS Shop funds go into a separate Paypal account, she at least would know how much in total she receives each month. We can see that things often sell in one's or twos if we look at the great graphs Linda has been supplying for us, but from those graphs, Ronda would certainly know how much was designated for apples, how much for yarn etc.(or perhaps we could even impose on Linda to keep a running total of each item for the year so she could let Ronda know how much is available for yarn at any given time when she needs to purchase some)

    I would imagine that for many items, Ronda would need to wait until enough has been sold to make a purchase worthwhile. In the case of the yarn, none of us would expect her to go out and purchase 2 or 4 balls if we had only sold 2 units. Nor would we expect her to stockpile yarn in dribs and drabs until she has enough to make it worthwhile to deliver it to a Gogo group. Besides, something like fuel might be a much more urgent need in any given month and she may need to 'shift funds' to meet the need. Since Ronda is right there on the ground, she can assess the best way to use the funds each month

    Once there is enough $ donated to make a large purchase of yarn she could probably buy it online right in SA. I know others have sent yarn in quantity this way and had it delivered right to the KAS Barn.

    Fortunately, we have a few items in the Shop which fall under the 'gift' category and are not designated for anything. Sales of these items can certainly be used anywhere they are needed.

    Am I talking in circles? Hope the above does not sound too garbled

    • I'm sorry, I should've explained this earlier.

      I'm the person who set up, and subsequently manages, the shop. The email comes to an address I created (knitasquare.southafrica@gmail.com) when a customer makes a purchase. I'm the one who tracks those purchases, makes the monthly charts and tallies the money – we're at a YTD total (Jan-Aug) of $3,256 and change, by the way.

      There is only ONE Paypal account, Ronda's, and everything goes into it – donations, subscriptions, money I've sent for CafePress royalties and shop purchases. I imagine it looks just like your or my account, with a brief overview of where the money came from and for how much, but lacking details on the actual items purchased. Hence my tracking.

      I am able to track the amount of yarn purchased through the shop and communicate that number to Ronda. As you said, if KAS is working at a deficit every month, it may be a hardship to take that money away from the pool to purchase yarn. But I agree, if we set a minimum number that may help Ronda manage this better.

      And hopefully, if this is a hit, donations will increase so the deficit will be less!

      I hope this helps explain things better.


      • Thanks for the clarification, Andrea.

        Now that we know you are the one producing those wonderful Shop graphs and are able to track the Shop income and sort it out from the other donations, I realize that you are in a position to let Ronda know when there are adequate funds for a significant yarn purchase. She really doesn't need to try and track this herself in addition to all the other stuff she has to do.

        I like the way you regard the Shop income as a 'pool' and if we are in a deficit some month, the money from Shop sales should certainly be allocated to essentials like rent or fuel.

  • I hope that this post comes at the end of this discussion where the last graphs are.  Without actual figures but looking at the last graph, it appears that KAS monthly expenses have increased to $4,000 US per month while revenues are coming in at $3,000 US per month so that would indicate a funding deficit of $12,000 per year.  To close the gap one needs to look at decreasing expenses and increasing revenues.  The increase in expenses is due to higher rent, higher fuel costs, fixed postal charge on every package received, higher Gogo stipend, and yarn purchases, based on information provided by Ronda.

    Regarding higher rent and the auditor fees, perhaps there is some program in SA where the landlord and auditor would forgo receiving some rent in order to receive a receipt for a charitable donation, in kind services. Regarding fuel costs, that every use of the KAS van is dual purpose, if possible.  Regarding fixed postal charges, that every member is encouraged to send as large a PARCEL as possible.  Personally I send a fifteen+ kilo parcel every nine months with at least a kilo of yarn inside plus my squares. Regarding the Gogo stipend -. that we sew as many blankets as possible at home.  Regarding yarn - we have some excellent suggestions already posted above.  

    On the revenue side, ask members to review their monthly contribution and to increase it, if possible.  Because of our numbers, every $5 increase counts.  Have specific products in the KAS shop that are holiday oriented, and then encourage members and others to purchase them.  We need to have an active SALES program in place, as interest wanes if you do not promote yourself.  Now that KAS has ten years of history and therefore legitimacy as an institution, visit local companies to solicit corporate sponsorships, or one-off donations.  Perhaps companies run by women would respond sooner.

    I have been knitting for KAS since 2012 and I see that there are fewer and fewer active members.  I miss them as we had some real characters that came across the wires. 


    • This summer has been particularly sluggish on the forum Mili, but I'm hoping to get back on track with the fund raising plan that Louise outlined earlier this year during the coming northern hemisphere Autumn. I'm also looking at a possible GoFundMe project, but I need to sort out the implications for KAS, Ronda & Sandy, and, of course myself. When we lost Louise's services in the Spring it was quite a blow as she was an experienced fund-raiser in her home town of Wootten Bassett and her committee raised funds for such things as a large vehicle to transport the elderly to hospital etc - this was just one item amongst many community activities that are organised.

      The other big blow is the introduction of SA duty/excise fees that are sapping funds - which is infuriating as members are being pressed to for every more increasing donations. My hope is that a GoFundMe fund will attract a substantial sum of provide some kind of financial foundation for the team - long term. 

      Yes, a number of the 'characters' have fallen away, and some of us, me included, am feeling our age! I guess most organisations have dips from time-to-time. The Moderator Team are continuing to work hard and juggling a number of tasks that keep the forum going, and, will very likely regain its sparkle soon. Bev is already working on the 2019 Themes to keep bringing in the squares!

  • KAS clearly needs funds, and the shop is a great way to do that when items are promoted. To have a member volunteer (thank you Anne) to be a dedicated shop keeper is amazing, I think it is a great idea!

    I also love the idea of a recipe book; I am imagining recipes from members across the world...... I will look forward to Shop Talk again!

    • Glo, Andrea, and Chris - glad to see that you are as excited about the Shop potential as I am.

      I used to dream about the recipe idea too, only I envisioned it as a series of cards so that we could get repeat sales by selling them as sets by region. But, no matter what form it takes, I still think it is a great idea. It would involve lots of members contributing their favourites, and that's always a good way to build enthusiasm. Besides, who wouldn't want a tried and true recipe from a KAS Sister?

      Maybe we could form a 'Shop Team' so that if we could resurrect SHOP TALK, no one person would bear the whole load. Are you three up for an idea like that?

      The possibilities are endless, and we could invite all members to contribute ideas for downloadable items and perhaps even create them themselves, then if Andrea is game, she could turn them into an item to stock the shelves. (Where would we be without you, Andrea?? Up the creek without a paddle when it comes to Shop items - thanks for all the work you do).

      One thing I noticed when I visited the Shop. Glo's wonderful Tunisian Crochet book and the Art Prints appear in 'Distribution'. would it be possible to move them into KAS Merchandise? Come to think of it, we haven't promoted the Cafe Press items (which are in the Merchandise section) in ages.

      We might even give some thought to putting our more generic card sets like the Nature series, Toy series, and Flower series ito KAS Merchandise too. It certainly wouldn't hurt to have them appear in two places in the Shop and they make great items for personal use or gift giving.

      Christmas is coming and visions of sugar plums (i,e, increased Shop sales) are dancing in my head!

      Perhaps we should also consider some promotion on our Facebook page - maybe attract some purchases by non-members?

      • I think that people in the UK might well be interested in recipes from other areas - and I am sure that some of them would love the Cafe Press items - I can see a tote bag on my Christmas list for sure!

        I will try to give the Shop a bit more exposure on the UK FB page.

        • Rebecca, that's great, thank you!

      • I've been thinking about the categories for awhile now and I think you're right. I've made a Gift Giving category and put some of the cards, the new artwork and Glo's TC book in there. :o)

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