Primary Focus: Income or Mission

Our weakened global economy has sent some charitable organizations into crisis, “How will we raise money?!” This crisis has affected us positively and negatively.

Positively, the crisis has forced us to commit. It’s harder to fundraise when, “finances are tight.” To do so requires a conviction that your program is a worthy investment. Ideally we’d remain connected to this belief but we easily drift away from it.

Also, organizations have had to get creative about our budgets. Creativity is good; it asks “What am I overlooking? How could I better use the resources I have?” In a perfect world we’d practice creativity regularly but it often takes crisis to move us to this mindset.

Negatively, crisis can cause ‘panic,’ we must think of a solution, quick! One response to this crisis has been to generate income: orphanages open bakeries; international NGO’s sell beadwork.  While these actions may produce funds they can divert us from our primary focus, the service we provide.

When a development tool fails to enrich our service it weakens programming and can hurt communities in which we work. I love Tatua’s way of generating income because we are constantly reassessing our programs. Tatua offers community organizing consulting and training at an affordable cost (link to services on website). In doing so we imagine organizing in new contexts, deepen our understanding of the material and further our mission of ground-up change (link to what we do).

I encourage organizations considering income generation to discern whether your idea for income generation will strengthen or weaken your cause. If the latter, don’t panic! Reassess your resources, commit to your mission and see how you might emerge stronger from this crisis.


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