I was startled to read in a book on non-profit finance this highlighted statement, “it’s not about the money”. Surely an accountant would not make such a statement. In a book on non-profit fundraising I found this additional thought, “It’s all about the outcome.”
Successful camps and non-profits have come to learn that traditional funding models do not always work. To succeed non-profits must demonstrate a worthwhile outcome. If you successfully find the appropriate outcome, the money will follow.
The ministry of Christian camping takes place in the changed lives of those we serve. There is no way of measuring this spiritual outcome that takes place in the heart. But this outcome is recognized in the lives it changes, and by those who observe it at home and witness the fruit that comes from it.
The greatest fund raising gift given to your camp ministry is going to come as a result of the spiritual imprint your ministry impact makes. The real result, not what we make our decisionism numbers to say. Numbers lie to your constituents every day, nobody really believes them anymore. But real change coming from real ministry, taking place in your camp that makes a real difference at home speaks loudly.
Your ministry focus should be on the impact you are going to have and how you are going to make it. The question you should be asking is, “What is real ministry that changes lives and how is that uniquely done in my camp”? The effective answer will become the outcome of Christ working through us. Then, I believe, the money will follow.
For further reading: Streetsmart Financial Basics for Nonprofit Managers, Thomas A. McLaughlin, 2009; ROI for Nonprofit’s, Tom Ralser, 2007