We all know the reaction of people who willingly support our good works but do not want to be associated with our soulsaving activities. You will be confronted with this in various ways from the round of War Cry selling to the negotiations with governments about support to our social programme.
Asking for contributions to our work is not begging. As Henri Nouwen writes ‘fundraising is proclaiming what we believe in such a way that we offer other people an opportunity to participate with us in our vision and mission. Fundraising is precisely the opposite of begging. When we seek to raise funds we are not saying, please, could you help us out because lately it’s been hard. Rather, we are declaring we have a vision that is amazing and exciting. We are inviting you to invest yourself through the resources that God has given you – your energy, your prayers, and your money – in this work to which God has called us.’ What then is our mission in the world?
How do we express this in the 21st century? We want to maintain that our mission is a holistic mission. We do not want to leave out the spiritual in our dealing with temporal needs and we do not want to reduce the preaching of God’s love to empty words without consequence. ‘Saving souls, growing saints and serving suffering humanity’ are not just different elements of our activities but they belong together, carved out of the same piece of wood, much as the African tables. It is One mission born out of One message and for that reason we are One Army, though we are different in style and expression. But how do we account for our vision and what is the difference this will make in people’s lives? What is the impact of our work when we are working in a holistic manner? Where are the stories that highlight the achievements, the impact of our One Army?
Our donors are asking these questions, they want to know what they can get for their money. But that is not the only reason we should look seriously at this subject. It is important for our own survival that we do not get divided, that we understand ourselves and our mission and can explain what we are about. These questions are at the top of the agenda of the Programme Resources department this year and we hope to garner enough support to give some serious thought to this subject and find appropriate tools for what we technically call ‘impact assessment’ to supplement our faith-based facilitation approach.