Monday, February 18, 2008

Raising Your Own Support: Vice or Virtue?

I'm doing my counseling practicum at Turning Point, a ministry of Youth For Christ here in Winnipeg. So far it is a good experience and lately I've been imagining what it would be like to work for YFC. I think they do a lot of good work. The problem in my mind is that (as far as I know) all Youth For Christ workers have to raise their own support. It seems like a lot of time and energy are expelled by the staff to find, maintain, and keep in contact with donors. I can see the benefit of having people who are praying for you and deeply "invested" in your ministry. You're also somewhat accountable to them.

And yet, I have misgivings. I have spoken with several YFC'ers from the past and present about this raise-your-own-support thing and I usually get a sense of "it's really tough." The superstars get more support then they need and the introverted types struggle to get enough to live on. I wonder if such a support model is outdated or even cruel to do to staff. Or am I just lazy or lacking in faith?

May Light increase!


Michele said...

I can't say I really agree with raising your own support either. I wonder if it takes away from the time and energy you can give to your work. I do like Youth for Christ. As an organization they are powerful. Glad that your practicum is going well.

Jay Boaz said...

I'm going with cruel. They're already dedicating themselves to a worthy cause and then have to dedicate a lot of their energy towards meeting ends meet on top of working!

Raising support for a few weeks, or even a summer, of camp, that I can see. Having to raise your own support to work...not cool. Can you imagine having to fundraise just to pay yourself? I'd feel like I was begging, personally.


Anonymous said...

I guess it's what you feel called to. I had a real tough time raising support, but my lack of Christian heritage/history certainly was a part of that. There are lifers at YFC because their supporters actually believe in the work these people are doing. Sometimes I felt like I was begging, other times I felt impassioned about the important role I was playing in the small and big picture and was able to relay that to my small donor base. It's more about also what you guys are willing to put up with...personally, if I never have to work for a Christian organization again, I'll be better for it...too much crap...and there are very few people I know that have left YFC on good terms.

Cheers! Sorry!


Mark said...

Hey Jacquie, thanks for your honest sharing! I wonder if the organization had had "less crap" would it have made the fundraising less onerous? Also, aren't you now working for a Christian organization - your church - except it's for free? Or did you mean a para-church organization? Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

As I was writing I was considering our role with the Vineyard in Elmwood. Somehow it seems different. It's not an organization, it's a few people who get together regularly to pray for Elmwood and teach the good news. I guess the grass roots of it make it feel different then the "big, bad, monopoly." Does that make any sense at all? Right now my biggest concern is our hearts focus and that ultimately we do this for God and not solely as a service for the community.

In regards to your fundraising question...I don't think the crap really had anything to do with my poor fundraising, especially since I was oblivious to most of the crap until I was just about to leave. Whatever!