Stay true to your mission…
It is so easy to slip into mission drift. A little compromise here, a little compromise there, and before you know it, you’ve compromised your mission for the sake of funding! This is particularly true with statutory (government) funding. Having worked with many churches and Christian-based organisations in my years of fundraising, I have recognised that organisations are not exempt from mission drift.
As a Charity, if you have a vision, then you should have objectives and tasks that comply with the vision God has given you. Your vision is akin to your long term dream. (It’s OK to dream!) It should be just out of reach. During my time as Chair of the Black Fundraisers’ Network (BFN), working with the Committee, our vision was to ensure that every Black fundraiser had the skills, expertise and support to become a leader within the fundraising sector. Birthed out of the BFN was the first ever Black person to become Chair of the UK’s Institute of Fundraising, Paul Amadi. Many dreams can start off as dreams but, as you continue to hold the vision in high esteem, it can slowly become a reality.
KICC, the UK’s largest Pentecostal church, has a vision statement which would impress anyone. It aims to grow the church from 10,000 to 25,000 members; pioneer city churches around the world; open a KICC bank to empower God’s people economically, and build a 5,000-seater church building and a four-storey office – some of which they are already working towards!
Your mission statement should provide the legs for your vision, and essentially sets out:
- where the organisation is going
- the guiding principles as to how it will function
- what you are about
- what you believe in
- what you intend to achieve
It should also be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound), with challenging but focused objectives.
Case Study – X Christian Centre
A small congregational church, based in London, received a grant from their local council for a recycling project.
They had a flourishing food bank, and were making a significant impact in their local community and even beyond. However, there was a strong temptation to distort the truth regarding the Project and, albeit unintentionally, fabricate the truth to secure the required funding.
One of the trustees recognised this, and brought this to the attention of the Board of Trustees, who realised how easy it was to digress from the truth and fabricate the facts to suit the requirement of the funder. Ultimately, they refrained from compromising the truth, and stated the facts as they were. They secured the necessary funding, and continue this day to impact their local community as a result of the funding.
The key is to ensure that your vision and mission statements are not compromised. If these have been given careful consideration from the outset, then there should be no need to compromise. Many charities have fallen into the trap of ‘chasing the funds’ – don’t fall into the same trap. Fit the funds around your mission, and not vice versa. Stay true to your mission!
Dates for your diaries
Event: The Trustee’s Role in Sustainable Funding
Date: 20th May
Venue: NCVO Conference Suite, 8 All Saints Street, London, N1 9RL
This half-day session is aimed at trustees who want to be strategic about their organisation’s financial sustainability. Participants will learn about the operational and cultural issues they need to think about when accessing new income, as well as key considerations in overseeing a change in the way the organisation is funded.
Topics that will be covered include:
- Taking a strategic approach: What is sustainable funding?
- Legal duties and responsibilities
- Financial oversight
- Good governance
- Identifying opportunities to diversify your income
- Identifying risk and costs of fundraising
- Planning for change
For further information, please contact Emma Clements by emailing email@example.com
Funding Focus for your Ministry
Cinnamon Network Development Grants
The Cinnamon Network would like to hear from local churches, social enterprises and Christian organisations that have developed a new and unique community franchise model. The Cinnamon Network is particularly interested in adopting new models which are Black-led, social enterprise-funded, rural-based, and address one of their priority areas, eg. worklessness.
Funding is up to £6,000 (which has to be matched by £6,000, which can include the value of: cash, gifts in kind, premises, professional pro-bono services, asset items, salaries). Deadline is 31st August 2013. For more details visit www.cinnamonnetwork.co.uk/development-grants/
Lara Rufus BA, MSc is Managing Director of Crowne Consultancy, former Chair of the Black Fundraisers’ Network; email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.crowneconsultancy.co.uk for help with fundraising and project building.