I received an e-mail last week from a fairly prominent ministry foundation that’s devoted to educating children in God’s word. They do this mainly through publishing helpful materials and holding an annual contest to test that knowledge. I won’t tell you more about them, but if you wanted to know who it was, you could figure it out easy enough.
The e-mail stated the following…
I’ve just reviewed our latest financial statement and…is facing a $300,000 shortfall in our financial support.
The general operations of the Foundation are supported 100% by the generosity of faithful supporters and donors to this ministry of family discipleship. Over the summer we experienced a drastic decline in donations and we need your help!
It is critical that these funds be raised before December 31st. Over the next several days, members of the Foundation’s Customer Service staff will be calling providing additional information about the foundation and how your gift will help.
I am asking for your prayerful consideration to making a gift to the…and helping us share Biblical discipleship for each family in America.
This e-mail made me wonder a few things.
Why the shortfall?
Who was managing this thing?
Is the CFO looking for a new job?
$300,000? What did the quarterlies look like? Is this a big surprise?
Why should we help? Is it just because the name of God is attached to the effort?
Would we excuse this in a for-profit business?
Why is it somehow okay for ministries to run with no fiscal responsibilities whatsoever?
Do you ask these questions when the ministries and charities you support run low on funds or do you just cut a check? I think it’s time we start asking questions that a banker might ask of a small business seeking a loan and make sure that there’s a decent reason for the shortfall and not just poor fiscal management.