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When does fundraising become unethical?

Author: RevEricFoley
Date: 07.06.2010
Category: Resource Mobilization

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Originally Posted in English

When does fundraising become unethical? When fundraisers act as takers, not lead givers

Jim Harries had me from hello.

Even the title of his post on the Lausanne Global Conversation site–Biblical Giving, Holding Donors Accountable–is about the best five word summary of why Biblical fundraising and development is–and must be–different than any secular fundraising approach.

  • In secular fundraising, the trendy battle cry these days is “Hold nonprofits accountable!”
  • In Biblical fundraising, the core truth has always been that the giver must be held to account–namely, to carry out that which God commands the giver to do in relation to the causes and attendant courses of action He explicitly commends.

Lest Christian fundraisers cheer too quickly, though, Harries notes that they more than anyone bear a primary sort of accountability, one which, tragically, they exercise all too rarely. The result?

An ethics fail which happens in broad daylight every day.

These days we have many charitable specialists in the West.  That is, those who act as ‘middle men’ between the conscience-stricken and the poor.  Their raison d’être obliges them to promote and defend the notion that ‘giving’ is both helpful and effective in impact.  Yet they themselves are not ‘givers’ in the normal sense of the word, because the ‘giving’ they do is of the money of others, from which their own incomes have already been extracted.  This unfortunately leaves them suspect. These ‘middle men’ can be accused of profiteering from the maladies of others.  Their self-interest often has them promote strategies against poverty that are actually oriented to the perpetuation of their own activities.

Responsibility for the ethics of giving is delegated to the above group.  Those who give to the middle-men have to trust that they pass on their funds in an appropriate way.

From a Transformational Giving standpoint we’d say it like this:

  • The role of the Christian fundraiser is to be the lead giver to the cause.
  • This leadership is drawn from knowing, doing, and teaching what the Bible calls all Christians to do in relation to the cause.
  • In other words, Christian fundraisers are not solicitors of funds but player-coaches of giving.
  • They encourage others to imitate their actions, not merely respond to their solicitations.

Sum it up and say:

If you seek to be good at Christian fundraising, let it be through growing into the fullness of Christ in relation to your cause and then coaching others to imitate that same maturity. Let it not be because you learned tools, techniques, and strategies that made it possible for you to solicit like the pros.

Keywords: fundraising, ethics, giving

Conversation Post Comment

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PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down brother_edward (0)
United States

i really liked your article. It is courageous. Fund raising is a very dangerous field. any field that deal with money can be a trap, if we are not under God’s strict orientation. I have worked in banking for almost 30 years and, believe me, i have seen that money can change someone’s character.


14.11.2012
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down ladyT (0)
United States

Great article i hope more would comment and really take heed to the message. I really appreciated the insight.


20.07.2011
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down Jim_Harries (-3)
Kenya

Just wanting to appreciate the comment below by Swells in the Middle Kingdom. The whole comment is excellent. I find this last line especially challenging:

“In addition to their other service within the local Christian community, expat "middle men" have a duty to function--not as channels for western donations--but rather as filtering screens to protect the goals and priorities of the local community from the often unintended corruption of ill-informed givers.”

This is a point that needs to be seriously considered at Lausanne. I could say – yes, I also protect the community I am in here in Africa in the same way. But, it wouldn’t be true – because donors don’t take any notice. It was fascinating when speaking to a local pastor on one occasion. He was telling me about a certain ‘difficult’ donor. ‘Tell him to come and see me’ I suggested, ‘and I can explain things’. The pastor laughed incredulously. ‘No way will he see you!’ he told me ‘the whites who come here make it quite clear that they will work with us Africans. They don’t want anything to do with Westerners on the ground.’ 

We missionaries have a problem. Some explained to me years ago – missionaries are like manure. Spread them out thinly and they may do some good. Put them all in one place – and all you get is a stink. Why is this? I have tried to explain it in a piece that got published in EMQ (see http://conversation.lausanne.org/en/conversations/detail/10519 ).

Yes, there is a desperate need for people to deter ill-informed givers. But, it’s not an easy role to fill. The ‘givers’ MUST be responsible themselves and not give ill-informedly! Please … That means, I suggest, at the very least, interacting with people in their own language.


05.08.2010
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down besoman (-2)
Nigeria
@ Jim_Harries:

"I think "middle men" are VITAL to the transfer process, but these people need to be first and foremost advocates for the local community, providing a faithful means for representing the priorities and the strengths of that local body to any would-be donors".


06.08.2010
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down besoman (-2)
Nigeria
@ Jim_Harries:

"Yes, there is a desperate need for people to deter ill-informed givers".


It seems to me as if the goal is a right channeling of needed resources via adequate information on the "NEEDS AND PRIORITIES" rather than a DESPERATE (whatever informed the desperation) DETERING.


06.08.2010
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down Swells_in_the_Middle (15)  
China

In my years of service I have often found myself in the position of "middle man", standing between donors and local recipients.  I have always thought that this is an important role that most any cross-cultural workers will in time find his or her self filling.

At first, I understood my position in terms of channeling.  I am aware of just how much financial power there is in the west, and how little of it is shared with the rest of the world.  I set out to redistribute as best I could.  Less cushion in western seats meant more roofs on Chinese churches.  It seemed simple, and I felt morally justified.  Like Robin Hood, I took from the rich to feed the poor.

Only over time--specifically as I became more and more in tune with the priorities and the strengths of the local Christian community where I was serving--did my thinking on this issue devlop.  I remember my "ah-ha!" moment.  Money was coming from an American church to pay for building and remodeling a local Bible school... and I felt I needed to send the money back.  What had changed?  In this particular instance, I realized that without that money there was little local support for setting up a Bible school.  The money had not been preventing the school from being established; on the contrary, the church leaders and the local officials were not ready to begin such a venture.  And here’s the point:  three years later they set up a Bible school WITHOUT ANY OUTSIDE FUNDING and it is running well today.

I think "middle men" are VITAL to the transfer process, but these people need to be first and foremost advocates for the local community, providing a faithful means for representing the priorities and the strengths of that local body to any would-be donors. This means long-term workers with language and culture skills who are--as much as possible--a part of these local communites.  In addition to their other service within the local Christian community, expat "middle men" have a duty to function--not as channels for western donations--but rather as filtering screens to protect the goals and priorities of the local community from the often unintended corruption of ill-informed givers.


05.08.2010
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down Jim_Harries (-3)
Kenya

Responses to a number of comments below!

I guess we are all familiar with something of ‘dependency theory’?

Mbah suggests looking at some of the ‘successful’ African churches … Pointing to what I think is important – that there be some Westerners whose approach to ‘Africa’ is other than as ‘donors’, so that they can ‘observe’ and ‘learn from’ such churches. I consider myself to be such a person, but I do not consider that I would have been / be able to fulfil such a role if I didn’t have a policy of ‘non-donoring’. Even now, anyone who doesn’t know me well, is likely to give me ‘super-respect’ on entering an African church context … Unfortunately, it is also my experience that many African churches 1. aren’t sure what on earth a Westerner can contribute to them if it does not involve money 2. often don’t ‘trust’ Westerners to be faithful in anything (I think) because  they can at any time ‘buy folks’ and/or criticise/condemn what they don’t fully understand culturally. 3. of course, they can ’tell-on’ donors.

I don’t get the last paragraph of Mbah’s contribution. What I think he is saying (what I would say) – is that because of the massive power that Westerners have over Africa, we need some of them to be better educated on the African scene. This, frankly, requires some to ‘depower’ themselves, i.e. not be donors so as to interact with ’normal’ people in a more ’normal’ way.

Italker makes a good point – that often it is in ‘donor contexts’ that relationships are formed. Yes, and very few Westerners know how to relate to Africa(ns) outside of donor relationships. So, you are right, but I think this is a problem. ‘We’ MUST start to relate other than from superior (like it or not if you’re the donor) positions.

Of course, saying that some Westerners shouldn’t be donors, is NOT in itself saying that less money should be given … It IS advocating a breaking down of some pretty extreme racism that continues into the 21st Century …

Mbah mentions that if Lloyds bank (for example) want to invest in Nigeria, they should have a Brit or Westerner in charge to avoid corruption. Broadly I agree – and the reverse would also apply – if Nigerians want something done in the UK in a Nigerian way, they had better have a Nigerian in charge on the ground … But I am not quite sure where this gets us in the long term?


11.06.2010
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down besoman (-2)
Nigeria
@ Jim_Harries:

Thanks Jim,


I have a little awareness on that and I think I understand your position but I am saying that your position is an over-reaction to the dependency problem. You (the father) are blaming and rough handling the child for a problem you created. One day my seven year old baby put me right. She needed to attend extra lessons to enable her jump a class and I “broadly” support her as long as it doesn’t disturb me so we agreed. Then she asked me to take her in the car four blocks away where she was attending her lesson. I informed her that when I did my lesson I trekked two kilometres and had to sleep over. Then she asked if I was jealous. Surprised, I asked of who? Then she said, me of course. I asked jealous of what and why? She said, I was jealous that her father has a car and my father didn’t, else I wouldn’t had walked two kilometres and slept over just to get some more facts.


According to her, if my father had gotten a car, he would have dropped me off where I had my classes and picked me up at the close of lesson so I won’t sleep over consequent upon my suffering, I now require her to walk four blocks to lesson. Her point was made and she was wrong and right. I realised I had never made her able to walk four blocks let alone communicated the benefits so it wasn’t time to do lessons on that so I took her there and arranged to sort it out. Today she is ten and walks two kilometres to run errands without thinking of complaining. She has a bike and sometimes decides to walk. See my point?


Church – Missions relations is like any parent child relationship. There are stages and things to do at these stages. Some Westerners started wrongly only to turn round today, because of the American “NEW” syndrome to propound “NEW” theories that put the blame on Africa without solving the problem. You got it right in some of your initial comments – they are abandoning the churches and crying wolf. I’m neither SIM nor ECWA but they did a good Job in Nigeria. The CMS didn’t do quite well but the Anglican despite the odds had been able to say no to the money peddlers from the West in the Homo-sexual debate. Others started among us, raised their money here and are planting Churches in the West, yet there are those who are still largely dependent. The principles “vulnerable” missions is struggling with is not new but they DO NOT negate support because it’s not support that develops dependence it BAD PARENTAGE. The child comes into the world knowing nothing! If the child gets polio because you failed to immunize him, don’t dump him in the “bad forest” claiming he is a demon.The solution: Find out the stage you failed – where did this child stop learning? Then build capacity from that point. You may have to send him to a special school and do some “hands –on” before letting go, even then, good parents ask questions and offer advice.


Someone needs food and you have food, then give food and talk afterwards. Find out what they could do to get food, then “empower them to do it” and get food. Afterwards, find out the problems they have and work together to solve it. It’s only when you get them to a point where they REALIZE that they can also solve problems that the equality you have in mind will begin to come – not when you send e-mails from your computer, his cousin sends e-mail in a cyber-cafe – pretending you don’t have money can’t convince anyone. If not, it looks to me as if you’ll produce more vulnerable Christians who may not be able to stand up to the pace of development around them. They’ll turn around and hate both you and the Christianity you gave them.


I hope we are agreed that we should raise funds and on when our method of raising it becomes un-ethical but more importantly, on how to use it to empower people without making them dependent. Most importantly, I hope we are also agreed on who NOT to blame and if need be punish for the dependency problem. IT’S NEVER THE CHILD!


11.06.2010
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down italker (1)   
United Kingdom
@ Jim_Harries:

What i would like to add to all this is that its not about donor or non donor its about "attitude and perspective." You see I am also one who looks for donors to support and develop my social outreach programmes here in Scotland as well as the social outreach I’m involved with in Peru and india.  Although i  may live in the rich North  i know poverty when i see it, but I don’t live in poverty so I am very careful how i make judgements about other people’s motives.


i also minister in a community that has needs here in a so called wealthy nation. I am often the one chasing funding to keep much needed social programmes running in my parish. I have to meet with people who could buy and sell me a hundred times over yet I need to be responsible for my own integrity and attitude toward the funders. I need to be careful that i don’t shape the purpose and vision of the programmes to suit the fund I’m trying to access. I need to be truthful in how i describe the need and I also need to be accountable to my benefactor without becoming his "yes man"


So in one sense I’m no different from those in the South looking for support from a wealthy North. If that is the case maybe its not about north south divide and ’have and have nots." Its about people with integrity doing the right think for their community at that moment in time"


Now I’m not sure how i would react to someone who had plenty and the means to  a network  to support  financiallly a vital programme, but who said to me they had a policy of being" a non giver" in order that i might learn how to build a relationship with them that didn’t depend on money.


You know what when your in need  real need, life is sometimes too short for "the esoteric nicities" of philosophical philanthropy.  if you’ve drawn along side me and i need your help it should be unconditional with no holds barred including your bank balance.


And you can decide  in due course if i’d be your friend with or without your financial help.  I’m just reminded of the verse in James where we’re told that there is something far wrong if we see our brother in need and we say, " I’ll pray for you but won’t lift a hand to help " Look i know Jim thinks he is helping by standing back and being what he thinks one of the community, he’s not he is what he is a white westerner with access to networks that can change lives.


 


 


 


11.06.2010
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down Jim_Harries (-3)
Kenya
@ italker:

Thanks for these comments. … One problem I have, is that I have addressed many (all) of the questions above in lengthy writing, and I cannot repeat it all here in one comment. So, please do look at www.vulnerablemission.com and look at my articles. Please don’t think I am trying to have a headswell. I appreciate that Italker’s views are held by many – who are unfortunately in my humble opinion misguided and misguiding.


Italker says ‘I’m no different from those in the South …’ and indeed the current trend is to ’collapse difference’ and because English is the international language, few realize what is actually happening. As I indicated in another comment – if you want an example of people who ‘could help’ (materially) but don’t, the Bible is full of them. That is, men who gave up (say) fishing in order to ‘waste time’ (?) talking to people about God … Italker’s open bank balance … yes, fair enough. Then GIVE ALL YOU HAVE. I don’t think Italker has, or he wouldn’t be able to afford his computer. Rather (this is not personal but I just use your name!) Italker makes a decision on what to ‘keep’ for himself and his family and what to give away. He does not give ‘no holds barred’  … surely? Many networks create dependency … see my other comment about ‘sport’ for anser to the other question.


12.06.2010
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down Jim_Harries (-3)
Kenya
@ besoman:

Thanks again Mbah.


In interacting with the African church, of course one (as a non-African) must have an understanding of it. So, after 22 years, I have an understanding of the African church, and ‘opinions’ (I trust Holy Spirit inspired?) as to what is good for it or bad for it. But, my sharing with local churches in my home area in Kenya is essentially of the Gospel, as best as the Lord enables me to do so.


My ‘major concern’ in many ways, is with the activities of ‘my people’,  let’s say ‘native English speakers’, who I perceive to be working often on the basis of misunderstanding of the African context. There are various reasons why it is very difficult for indigenous people to articulate this to ‘the West’. I have already pointed to some articles that demonstrate this difficulty (see www.vulnerablemission.com). The question then is – who is ‘educating the West’? I believe it is very irresponsible for the West to work without someone ‘educating it’, to work blind, in a sense. He / she who can ‘educate it’, must ‘know’ what’s going on. Donors struggle to ‘know’, as the display of wealth that they bring creates dynamics around them (in Africa) that seriously cloud their spectacles.


Thus I am not ‘blaming the child’, but I am advocating that the parent listen to the child. The dominant alternative, it seems to me, is that (almost) every African = ‘I need money’ and every Westerner = ‘I have money, who needs it’? This is frankly generating and perpetuating racial stereotypes.


Let’s compare life to a sport, e.g. football. When America plays (who?), then once on the field differences are gone. 11 men each, you’re on your own … I am asking ‘can I play for an African team’? And, very often I am told ‘yes, as long as you don’t play as we do. We play ‘beg’, you play ‘give’’. But then I’m not on ‘your team’, then I am the prey that you are hunting!


When the American puts on his football boots and runs out onto the field, he is not pretending that he does not have a jeep that he could use instead. But, the game is not played by people driving around in jeeps! Whoever thinks “pretending you don’t have money can’t convince anyone” – but I am not trying to convince anyone.


You mention ‘hate’. Yes, there is a potential to hate people who don’t give what they evidently could give (money). Christ also could have ‘given’ money if he had wanted to, but chose not to, and people hated him too. We are asked to follow in his footsteps … Jealousy is a sin, not a way to maneuver people.


12.06.2010
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down besoman (-2)
Nigeria
@ Jim_Harries:

Thanks Jim,


You are not blaming the "child" your "new" perspective calls "beggar", whose language is “I need money”? What a position! Yes, I can see your point. Your 22 years of teaching Agric (with its "success", and Africa is to blame) and turning to TEE, has given you and understanding (not of the of the countries you worked but of Africa) that is so rich that you now have the ability (better than Africans for the good reasons you had given) to let your people know that the attitude of most Africans is beggarly but they are planting churches in England and here you are still "helping" them. African ’beggars’ receive visitors by asking what they brought right? What an understanding!


In the world of sports the team is not selected on the basis of the desire of the players but on the "judgment" of the handlers of the ability of the players to deliver. If Africans don’t select you to play you can easily understand why, you’ve not created TRUST which is basic to getting a hearing in any culture. Westerners had been and are being selected so find out why you are not being selected.


But on a more serious note, it seems to me that your vulnerable mission is not considering a lot of facts. You seem to have "headswelledly" refused to see that culture (not just language) work HAD ALWAYS been the way of missions from the days of Paul (so it’s not news). You also seem to refuse to see that some work had been done in most of Africa. Meaning that in terms of human capacity the country you are "helping" has enough capacity (in terms of her evangelical population) to evangelize the other tribes and go beyond. You also seem to prefer to ignore the reasons they are not doing it – you, the parent did not preach that aspect of the missions. Yes, and you did that globally, creating dependants, so get back to work and repair what you’d done wrong not start another “right way of doing it”. Then most importantly, whoever had given you your perspective failed to help you appreciate the fact that when God confused the language of the world, He did it to stop the world from uniting in rebellion and that He gave the KEY with which He locked the world to the Church on the day of Pentecost – the Church spoke the language of the then world and moved out in power. Consequently, language study, though a wonderful physical way of doing it, that has worked wonderfully well globally may not be the “joker”. Finally, Bro Jim, even if you spend the rest of your life in Africa (unless you work your way into Africans to the point where we see you as family), you’ll still be another “gringo” agric teacher who prefers to keep the tractor to himself (your cars, websites and other equipment), telling his brothers (those who may care to listen) to hold onto the chemicals and NEVER give tractors to Africans; in the pretence that you are teaching us better methods to hoe the farm until we develop the ability to manufacture tractors and chemicals for ourselves. Thanks for teaching us Jim!


14.06.2010
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down Jim_Harries (-3)
Kenya
@ besoman:

Hi Mbah,
My reference to ’beggar’ arose really from a book I have just finished reading by (black) South African Speckman (A Biblical Vision for Africa’s Development) that I highly recommend. He makes much reference to ’beggars’, and explores how they were viewed in NT times.
By the way; I think it takes a giver to make a beggar. ’Bad giving’ results in ’bad begging’. I imagined what it would be like if say I was a factory worker in the US or somewhere, and I decided that every day I was going to give $20 to whoever I found was most in need. The mind boggles, the kid of activities my colleagues could engage in so as to get hold of that money. Unfortunately it seems to me that this has been little considered in the African context. If Speckman is right, and there are today many ’beggars’ in Africa, then ’bad giving’ is (I think) really to blame. I have another conversation up about ’accountability for donors’, when usually one thinks of accountability for receivers of funds.
It is interesting that you say ’Westerners are being selected’. Not many of them. I can quite understand in some ways, but it is quite a contrast (I think) with the situation in other parts of the world. I suggest that the reason includes at least the use of English in coutries like Kenya. The ongoing use of Euro languages in Africa is causing numerous issues, but many are not very visible to Western scholars who tend to dominate the global literature on Africa.
Achieving people’s ’trust’ is indeed not easy. Let’s do what we can to assist others who set out to do so.
There do not seem to be many other participants in this conversation. Best wishes and thanks for your ongoing comments Mbah.


15.06.2010
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down besoman (-2)
Nigeria
@ Jim_Harries:

Thanks Jim,


you are still recomending the book so its also your view. The points are made and many people are viewing them unfortunately time is limited and people must maximize it for ultimate benefits. I get your point, the Factory worker should give you the money so as to teach the beggers how not to beg.  Unfortunately, you cant prove to them that you are different because they know that you raise support to get your equipment and upkeep and since you dont think they should know how its done, dont be suprised that you cant convince the factory worker to keep his $20 because he sees the results - God blesses him. So if the factory worker gives the money to you, you’ll only create more dichotomy as the factory worker cannot explain why he prefers to give it to you, a non-begger instead of the beggers.


Yes, its hard to get peoples trust but its crucial to getting their hearing and missions study might help. Remain blessed.


15.06.2010
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down nanno (1)
United States

Amazing conversation. Thank you.


11.06.2010
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag -1 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down Jim_Harries (-3)
Kenya

I appreciate Mbah’s comments, and enjoy discussion, although I am not sure I am quite so appreciative of the implicit accusation that some of us are not being sufficiently ‘positive’. I suggest that ‘honesty’ may be a better requirement than false-positives.

It could be that Nigeria is very different from the context here in Kenya? I gather that Nigeria is different, although I have never been there (except at an airport).

One of the key points I think I tried to make early on, was that donors ought to be held accountable. This temperament seems to be shared by others. How to do it – the suggestion from Eric seems to be ‘the Christian conscience’, and broadly I agree with him. I don’t think we are about to set up any legal accountability structures for church giving. The absence of such does put the prerogative on believers to ‘be careful’.

It has been my experience that creation of dependency is an issue seen more by Westerners than by Africans. Or more precisely – those who have a voice are often those from donor countries, as those in recipient countries are tied / obliged by their need for funds; they daren’t speak out. Such, as Mbah very nicely points out, can be problematic. I don’t think we should be gagging people.

A broader question arises as to the appropriate course of action for churches / believers in donor / recipient terms. I happen currently to be reading a book by S. African MT Speckman called “A Biblical Vision for Africa’s Development” – but I have yet to complete it. He appears to be trying to find the very fine line of balance between ‘over-generosity’ and creation of dependence, perpetuation of a begging mentality etc. ‘Should one give to beggars’ is one of his key questions? In Acts 3 of course Peter and John gave ‘healing’ (sozo) rather than ‘silver and gold’. …

In broad terms, it has been my view that the church (churches) should NOT be recipients of international donor funding, because the church should be there to stay, but what donors fund often does not last … Better ‘fund’ other things, and then let local Christians allocate part of their raised incomes to the church.

I would be in broad agreement with Eric, as I understand him, that the church should not be heavy on ‘professional fundraising strategies’. 


08.06.2010
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down besoman (-2)
Nigeria
@ Jim_Harries:

Thanks Jim,


It looks to me as if this global conversation is designed to expand our knowledge of our attempts to preach Christ globally and my opinion is that it’s been wonderful. One Professor once said in public that he is a Professor of a small part of a small part of an even smaller part of Engineering. Contrarily some think they know everything. I guess that we’ll keep learning as long as we live if we are willing.


My first comment in this article was directed at Eric (he wrote the article) who seems to be writing to support your view in another article (I hope I’m right) not Chris. Its good you’ve seen that as represented in your last comment. In another one you had claimed to be speaking from a Kenyan perspective and I strongly disagreed, thank God you saw my point. In another, you said that Jesus was not a donor (whatever you wished to accomplish), but now you seem to agree that donating is not anti-Jesus and we are now talking about how not to do it. Your view  that “the church (churches) should NOT be recipients of international donor funding”, and the reason behind it “because the church should be there to stay, but what donors fund often does not last” may not be acceptable to all.


Your writings give me the impression that you are an economist or broadly, to use your term, familiar with its principles. It is my opinion that you are aware of the vicious circle of poverty. Low capital leads to low savings, which leads to low investments and back to low capital. How, Jim may this vicious circle be broken without intervention? It seems to me as if you are saying that because receiving money from parents could lead to dependence, parents should not give to their children or vice-versa. I beg to broadly disagree with you Brother Jim. We, my wife and I are building a house and ran out of money shortly; I called my father and he sent me some money. I hear Jim crying foul! I hear you say that because I was not careful with my planning my Daddy is creating dependence. How do you explain capacity building to your students? Your problems with transition may not be general (in another blog you had said that transition is problematic).


Is there any good in donor funds Jim? It looks to me as if you had never been hungry. I see the vulnerability in your web-sites and how they are used to reach out to illiterate Africans who had gold and diamonds in their land. Italker, is asking whether it is ethical to receive money from the Llyods bank group give him a response. Are there some donor agencies in Kenya or that come to Kenya to distribute money? Or are these donations tied to some projects? You may ask the Baptist ‘Klaedoscope’ (I hope I got it right) to answer your questions on qualifications to receive donor funds.


On strategies you now say the church should not be “heavy” on secular fund raising strategies, yea, just as we are saying that the Seminary should not be “heavy” on secular lecturing and grading strategies. Eric said “let it not be because you learned tools, techniques, and strategies that made it possible for you to solicit like the pros” and that’s why asked what’s wrong with learning techniques, strategies and whatever that will make it possible for one to beat the so called pros when I am typing from a secular computer and sending it through a secular ICT facility … etc.?


09.06.2010
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down Jim_Harries (-3)
Kenya
@ besoman:

Hi Mbah,


No I don’t believe that one language can effectively be used to communicate inter-culturally - see http://www.jim-mission.org.uk/articles/intercultural-dialogue.pdf


There is giving ’in relationship, which is very normal. There is giving that is somewhat ’without relationship’, which is somewhat a different issue: http://www.jim-mission.org.uk/articles/The-Immorality-of-Aid-to-the-Third-World.pdf


If we want to reduce life to economics, then perhaps we’d be better of being economists rather than theologians? No, I don’t really follow the ‘vicious circle of poverty’ thesis that you are propounding.


Feel free to browse through the various articles here: http://www.jim-mission.org.uk/articles/index.html - although I will be the first to admit – that they are aimed primarily at Westerners interested in or active in mission. Nevertheless, you may find some things there of interest?


It’s a pity we can’t meet face to face to talk. You are raising many fascinating issues. Keep up the good work!


09.06.2010
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down besoman (-2)
Nigeria
@ Jim_Harries:

Hi Jim,


Thanks again for admiting that we need western landuages to do this work. There is NO giving without a relationship because the very act of giving establishes a relationship where there was none. You were the one who first mentioned economics in your articles. The Vicious circle of poverty is easy to understand. People are poor because they do not have eneough so they can’t save. Because they can’t save or can’t save eneough they do cannot raise eneough capital. They remain perpetually in that circle until intervention possibly by way of a capacity building programme is introduced to increase their ability to save by increasing their income and increasing their capital base. That’s the only way to break out of the VICIOUS circle of poverty. Except if you know another way, I’d be glad to know. That’s the reason why we must have interventions. My opinion, lets think about how to properly harness the opportunities the offer to eliminate the evil they bring. Most of the drug that is abused do a lot of good so the world barns their trafficing but had never said that Cocaine is evil because it is abused because there are excellent clinical uses and it seems to me as if God created them for those clinical uses.


 


09.06.2010
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down Jim_Harries (-3)
Kenya
@ besoman:

The vicious-cycle theory is only one of many, and I think it is largely discredited these days?


If outside capital is needed to stimulate development, then how did development start? Like - who loaned the capital to folks in the UK who initiated the industrial revolution?


If outside capital were the key to development in Africa, then it would long ago have been ’developed’, as capital keeps getting poured in. But, despite it’s getting poured in, things don’t seem to move on. 


In many ways the answer to the puzzle, is that it is those who are able to accumulate their own capital who will succeed in ’developing themselves’, which is as much a matter of spending constraint as it is of income.


09.06.2010
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down besoman (-2)
Nigeria
@ Jim_Harries:

Yea Jim,


You know that there’s almost nothing that is not being discredited these days especially because of globalisation. Each grroup has "excellent" arguements for what they are doing. I was told in school that all you need to start a theology os massacre is to join two scripture, one from the Old the other from the New Testament. ’And they dedicated the city to the Lord, and destryed with the edge of the sword every living thing...’ and ’Go and do likewise’. But microfinancing is the in-thing in the two-third world as a result of the Vicious Circle theory and people are breaking the circle.


Yes money has been "pouring" into Africa (and don’t forget that most of it had been from money that "poured out"), but into what? In the last administration of the University where we work, we discovered our in ability to implement projects for several "good" reasons so we asked the donors to come and do the buildings themselves. Today, all the buildings are standing. We are now asking for the equipping and they are being equipped. African missions has advanced far more than what you think. Ask the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Deeper Christian Life Ministries, Living Faith Missions, Capro Ministries, Evangelical Church of Nigeria, Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion)... the list can go on! We are not beggers or beggerly. Yes some of our past leader (decieved by Western crooks - aren’t the monies in western "ethical Christian" Banks?) did not do well, but we have not remained there.


You ask where those who started the industrial revolution got their money? They stole it from Africa. They stole our physically strong men, today they are stealing our intellectually strong. Back to the issue Jim, In several "impoverished" peoples’ situation, outside intervention must be obtained. It could be training (like you are doing), equipment (like I’m asking), improved variety of seed, or money - raw cash, loans or whatever- its abuse is an altogether different thing.


you may never have considered a fact of teching that many teachers overlook - the student fails with the teacher. If they can’t understand, you can’t teach. Until Africa is able to help others your interventious "pouring" has failed.


10.06.2010
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down italker (1)   
United Kingdom
@ besoman:

I have a great amount of sympathy for Mbah position. I think we need to be careful that we don’t refuse help.  


jim makes a very generalised statement that outside funders start things and then move on. Sometimes they do, however  it is often during the years that the funding is flowing that very interesting and worthwhile relationships are formed.


International agencies have people at the chalk face  and many of them do care and have a great passion for the poor. There are also many good and caring secular politicans and secular foundations who are willing to partner Christians in our work. 


I think it is easy for the rich to have an ideology and to stand on what we might think are good principles  however when your poor or an advocate for the poor, you don’t often have that luxury.  You take help from where ever it comes and I thin that is the point that Mbah is trying to make.


10.06.2010
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down besoman (-2)
Nigeria
@ italker:

Thanks Bro.,


You got me there! William Wilberforce and his political clout meant well and a lot of others down the line. The Earth is the Lord’s and everything in it. Not one Dollar belongs to Satan (I know that Satan has organisations run by humans and we have to be careful with them). However, the hungry don’t know that, so its our responsibility to get to them before Satan does.


Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea may never had gone to a fellowship meeting but they were the ones that stood when "Thunder and fire" and all the other disciples went into hidding. The Rockey Fella Foundation was the first organisation to use the word contextualisation and they have funded excellent research into Christian missions. We can go on and on! If the Llyods Bank is willing to fund projects in Nigeria, they are welcome! If Nigerians embezzle, misappropriate or divert the funds; then they should find a Ghananian or Briton to come to Nigeria and do the projects. Let’s get this job done in our time!


10.06.2010
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down italker (1)   
United Kingdom

When reading your post i was wondering what people feel about taking funds from secular agencies and charities who might feel they have a common interest in a particular cause. In the UK for instance the Lloyds Foundation Group a separate Charitable Trust obtains its funding from the Lloyds banking Group. Others may act as brokers from lotteries. Is it ethical to take such funding?


08.06.2010
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down Jim_Harries (-3)
Kenya

Hi, Reading Chris’ comment, he seems to be asking; "are you morally accountable if you are merely doing a job so as to get a salary"? That is a broad question I guess in terms of Christian ethics - like should a Christian work for a brewery, for the forces, etc. 

It seems to me that big charitable organisations involved in helping the poor in the Third World are in some ways very ’stuck’. They have a staff, they have an income, they have obligations (ongoing projects etc.) and they have people’s confidence. But, what they are doing on the ground is NOT WORKING. What should they do? If they are not careful, a lot of the people who have been giving will be angry, some may loose their faith, others be disillusioned - why have they been deceived for so long? Certainly more will be less inclined to give in the future, but surely willingness to give is a good thing? So, the organisation keeps up the front (I guess?) while desperately trying to put its act in order ...

I guess every employee of such an organisation is in the end answerable to God for staying silent, or for speaking up.


08.06.2010
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down besoman (-2)
Nigeria
@ Jim_Harries:

Hi Jim,


Those are very big questions but I dont think they apply only to "big" or "small" "charitable" or "missionary" organisations(?). Looks to me as if EVERY Christian will ultimately answer them for I’m persuaded that there are "missionary" organisations that have similar problems. There is necessary attrition, that is those who ought to have left the mission fields but for some reasons they just hang on and mostly create problems, without solving them.


Many Priests are still in ministry for the simple fact that there’s nothing else they can do well - all their training is in theology and related fields, they have no savings, the children have come of age and must go to school etc. So they just struggle to hang on and will do ANYTHING not to be kicked out. In the same vein, there are many well meaning christians who, because they cannot (there are many good reasons) directly join the field force are working round the clock to facilitate the work by raising support or working in such organisations. Take the "gospel bankers" of Nigeria, some of whose staff are very personaly known to me.


Some of these proven proffessionals were earning fortunes in the organisations they resigned from and now they barely earn a stipend that could not pay the school fees of their children in the schools they were attending before they resigned. And here is someone blanketing all of them and painting them black because someone is doing the good job the wrong way? It looks to me as if our duty is to strive to encourage one another and sharpen our weak points. It seems to me as if some us carry a log while looking for the speck in our brothers’ eyes. Fund raising is a good Christian ministry and like evry other thing that is good, it is being abused. Let’s show how to do it right. If you don’t believe in it, too bad! As we investigate where the funds of "voluntary" agencies go, let’s do they same with "missionary" donations. What percentage goes to the field and what percentage go to the servicing of missionary Jeeps and administrative overheads when the money does get to Africa or anywher else in the impoverished world. We are men who will give account, especially for the HIDDEN purposes of our thoughts and actions! May we go positive. Thanks Jim


08.06.2010
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down besoman (-2)
Nigeria

Thanks for your thoughtful article. You seem to disagree slightly with Jim in that you are showing that fund raising is good but could become unethical. I quite agree with you especially where said that any deparure from Christ is unethical.

However, what i want to learn from you is what makes "learning" fund raising techniques wrong? Almost everything we do in Christianity from our writing style, through preaching and bible study methods are learned, so why and what makes "learning" techniques of fund raising wrong?

It was Jesus Christ himself that encouraged us to give promising that we shall get in return "a good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over". How do we expound that in contemporary American situation? Finally, what makes getting paid for raising money wrong and getting paid for editing a Christian magazine right or for preaching? What makes getting paid for coming to Africa to teach Mathematics to the children of American missionaries right and getting paid for raising money to build a bridge in Africa wrong? Thanks and God’s blessings.


08.06.2010
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down ChrisKidd (0)   
United Kingdom

I like a lot of what you’ve written and commented about the need for donors to have responsibility for their giving, as well as organisations being clearer.

My only question is what about those who have to take a salary from the charity they work for, how do we practically see them as "the lead giver" whilst financially being a positive large cost to the organisation,

Chris


07.06.2010
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down RevEricFoley (0)
United States
@ ChrisKidd:

Great question, Chris, which raises another question:


What exactly is a lead giver?


Rarely will your staff fundraiser be the biggest giver. But being a big giver is different from being a lead giver. Being a lead giver means being able to say, "Imitate me as I imitate Christ through my giving to this cause." 


Your staff fundraiser needs to be giving to the cause not based on your organization’s need but on the Bible’s call and mandate. If your staff fundraiser’s giving is not in accord with the scriptures--or if your staff fundraiser really has no idea what the scripture says in terms of giving to your particular cause--that’s where problems arise.


07.06.2010

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