[ How We View Ourselves |
How We View Ministries ]
Wall Watchers' View Of The Nonprofit Organization [ top ]
Nonprofit organizations provide socially desirable services (serve the public good) without trying to earn a profit. Nonprofit organizations do not have owners (shareholders) and are set up to carry out a designated mission or specific purpose. Nonprofits do not distribute profits to owners and consider service to the community to be their overriding charter.
What Is The Main Financial Objective Of A Nonprofit? [ top ]
To obtain and utilize resources in order to meet spiritual, emotional, physical and other needs.
The Responsibility Of Ministries [ top ]
Christian ministries should be willing to disclose sufficient information to allow donors and interested parties to make an informed giving decision. Ministries have been entrusted with other people's money. As stewards of these gifts, ministries should act in a way that promotes confidence in the use of those gifts. Consequently, information should be prepared in a way that presents the financial activities and position of an organization fairly.
Ministries As Stewards [ top ]
Wall Watchers believes that all Christians are called to be stewards of the time, talents, gifts and resources that the Lord has entrusted to them. For the managers of Christian ministries, the financial resources and trust given by donors represent tangible blessings requiring their stewardship.
Trust and Accountability [ top ]
Wall Watchers believes that ministries should exhibit their good faith and demonstrate their stewardship responsibility to their donors by forming a relationship of trust based on accountability with their existing and potential donors. The first important step in forming this relationship is to provide full disclosure of all important financial information to the public. However, disclosure is only one requirement of a relationship of trust. A further requirement is to exhibit a transparency about the organization to the public that not only produces required disclosure to the public, but also creates an environment of willing cooperation and partnership with the public. It is Wall Watchers belief that a relationship of trust based on broader disclosure and greater transparency will assist in building the desired confidence in ministries and help to disperse any possible clouds of suspicion caused by a lack of information.
Ministries Need to Embrace Disclosure and Measurements of Results [ top ]
Christian ministries need to fully embrace the reality of the Christian Ministry Marketplace as well as the tools that will make it operate effectively, notably greater disclosure and measurement of results. For too long ministries have embraced a fear of full and honest disclosure thereby limiting the resources that could have been committed to the cause of Christ from donors who have sensed that they were not getting the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. The level of disclosure in public charities pales in comparison to that of public corporations. Material information about problems in ministry projects or finances regularly goes unreported by ministry management. A similar lack of candor in the corporate world could result in criminal and regulatory penalties for corporate executives and the companies they lead. Donors would almost certainly respond with larger gifts to those ministries that could clearly demonstrate success and honestly admit to failures while offering logical plans to correct problem areas. As it is, donors are almost always foggy about what is actually going on in a ministry's operations or how success can even be realistically measured and this lack of clarity undermines the level and growth in donations. While success in a ministry context can sometimes be difficult to measure, efforts need to be made to identify that which can be measured and compared in order for donors to be in a position to make wise giving decisions.
In a functioning marketplace, the fog has been burned off by the sunshine of full disclosure and consequently, resources flow to those that most deserve them. When all parties to a transaction are aware of all relevant information concerning the transaction, those offering a product or service must continuously innovate to attract and retain their clients. This process promotes growth, innovation and progress. In the current Christian Ministry Marketplace, however, many ministries in essence stymie such progress and improvement by clamping down on and/or filtering the essential flow of information needed by donors to best administer their donations. Untold millions and perhaps billions have already been errantly donated due to incomplete or even inaccurate information. Ministry boards and CEOs need to honestly ask themselves if they need to repent in this matter of truthfulness. Many are not in a position to share such information because they have failed to gather it in the first place. In obscuring the whole truth to donors, they are clearly violating the Golden Rule - "Do unto others as you would have them do to you" (Luke 6:31). Because many donors sense that they are not getting the full picture and hesitate in their giving while others give in error due to incomplete information, they could even be accused of stealing from the Lord's work in their efforts to protect their reputation and/or position from appropriate accountability!
Ministries As Examples [ top ]
It is our belief that Christian ministries should be models of full disclosure. As organizations that profess and represent the love of Christ, it is fitting that they should promote trust, accountability, disclosure, and transparency. We believe that when there is nothing to hide, one is best served by being completely open and transparent. Exhibiting these qualities helps an organization to dispel criticism before it has a chance to arise. We believe that the end result of greater transparency and fuller disclosure is heightened awareness and heightened confidence in the organization. In this way, a ministry can be a shining example of stewardship and accountability.
Ministries And Audited Financial Statements [ top ]
Wall Watchers believes that ministries of sufficient size should produce audited financial statements for their supporters. The publishing of audited financial statements demonstrates one's fiduciary duty of care and responsibility to provide adequate disclosure to donors, the community, the Church, and the public. If a ministry manages its finances irresponsibly, the bond of trust between the ministry and its supporters is broken and its standing in the community is tarnished. Additionally, if a sufficiently large ministry does not produce audited financial statements, questions about the integrity of the organization's financial information and internal control environment may be raised. These questions could be easily relegated to a non-issue in the presence of audited financial statements. In the event that a ministry is not willing to cooperate with Wall Watchers, we will make our users aware of this circumstance and encourage the ministry to reconsider its stance.
The Sensitivity Of Ministries To Examination Of Their Finances [ top ]
Wall Watchers realizes that ministries are very sensitive to someone examining their financial situation. We believe that ministries are better off meeting questions about their use of resources upfront, rather than trying to avoid or delay the inquiry. Nothing has greater potential to bring shame upon a ministry than problems with how they have used the resources entrusted to them. The details about how an organization uses its money are often ignored until a serious problem pushes these details to the forefront. The issue becomes more serious when questions are raised and answers aren't forthcoming, or when a legitimate breach of trust is shown to have taken place. At this point, it is often too late to address the problem. Although finances are a sensitive issue to ministries, we believe that if an environment of disclosure and transparency is established, there is a greater opportunity to identify potential financial problems before it becomes too late to do something about them.