Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Money. Why is it always about money?

So I had a busy day, just got home with a ripping headache and opened my email to a solicitation from a ministry for...money. Not just a little money. They need a lot just to survive. Without naming the (very well respected) ministry in question, here is what they say:

Your financial support has an immediate impact on our global outreach. This month alone, we need $496,160 in donations to sustain every aspect of this ministry. Every gift counts, no matter how great or small, so please make your contribution today.

Seriously. Half a million this month alone for a ministry that primarily is involved in radio programs, online resources for Reformed theology and other academic resources. According to public source they have annual administrative expenses (which includes staff costs) of $2.3 million and they spend an additional $2.3 million on fund raising (so they need to raise $200,000 per month to pay for...raising more money). This would all make tons of sense if the greatest need in the world was more Reformed theology mp3's. As it is there are millions upon millions of people who have never heard the name of Christ and who have zero use for an mp3 or a book on Reformed theology. They could probably use a Bible and a warm meal though. I will have to respectfully decline to contribute my fair share for this months burden of half a million.

I really was not in the mood to read that.

(Addendum: I went to the online form 990 that this ministry files, the tax form that non-profit organizations are required to file. According to the filing, this ministry in 2008 had 116 staff with a total payroll and benefits of $4.5 million and had gross receipts of over $15 million. All of this to disseminate "information, instruction, and training on Reformed Christian theology" )


Scripture Zealot said...

I always wonder why ministries try to do so much that they have to beg for money. I respect this ministry and the person in charge but I don't like this at all. I get a phone call from them once a year too. They need to count the cost at the beginning or scale back. They risk sounding like the old televangelists.

Arthur Sido said...

Jeff, I think that is an apt comparison. You have to wonder if the mission is really much more than perpetuating the organization.