Where should donations go?

May 8, 2013 | Viewpoints
Janette Thiessen |

It seems that money is a large part of my job. Every aspect of my work involves money in some way or another.

My job as Mennonite Church B.C.’s office administrator is, obviously enough, administration: of the property/liability insurance plan, the user group insurance plan for MC B.C., the provincial benefits plan, incoming e-mails for the office; administrative support for the new church plant, and assisting the various committees within the area church and all the congregations in various ways.

This is just my position and doesn’t take into account all the work Garry Janzen, executive minister; Dan Loewen, our communications staff member; or Lynn Loewen, our administrative assistant, do for MC B.C.

Knowing how important the administration behind the scenes is to MC B.C., it concerns me that people are not motivated to donate to general budgets. Donors like their money to go for something tangible: water projects, feeding/clothing/sheltering orphans, sending a child to school, health kits, goats or pigs. You get the picture.

Perhaps most donors don’t realize that without administration even these projects would not be able to proceed. Behind every fundraising effort are myriad staff members making it happen.

It is extremely important that donors give to all these aforementioned projects, but then to also remember to give towards the general budget of the organization, so that the administration needs are taken care of.

For MC B.C., our executive minister and I have almost more work than we can handle. When a large portion of our time needs to be concerned with making sure there’s enough money in the bank for ministry costs as well as administrative costs, it takes time away from our ability to assist the ministries within our area church. I would venture to say this scenario is repeated in each of our area churches and MC Canada, as well as most other charities in Canada.

I also feel it’s my responsibility to watch the purse strings and, therefore, caution our committees not to spend unnecessarily, even if the budget says they have a certain amount of money. Knowing full well that we have a negative budget, and with giving patterns indicating we won’t even meet that, causes a great deal of concern.

Unfortunately, administration isn’t very exciting or glamorous and, it doesn’t seem like donations to the general budget would be valuable. To the contrary, ask any missionary or mission worker out in the field how important the people back home taking care of the administrative details are to them.

With this said, I am very thankful for every person who has donated to MC B.C., whether it’s for a specific project or for the general budget. For myself, being aware of the needs of administrative support, I usually designate my donations to general budget when donating to a charity. I encourage all of you to consider the administration behind the scenes as you make donations in future.

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