by Lisa Tresch,
Rising Village Executive Director
Many years ago when my husband and I decided to begin giving monthly to a large non-profit organization, there were three things that helped us feel comfortable handing over our money to them: 1) a clear and passionate communication about their mission and purpose, 2) a transparency about about how they used our funds, and 3) stories about the difference our money was making in the lives of real people. I addressed the first of these in a previous blog post.
In this post, I want to be transparent about how we use your money. We are grateful for those who choose to give to Rising Village. There are literally millions of nonprofits (1.5 million to be exact) in the U.S. where you can donate money, yet not all of these will fit your own passion and purpose. If what we do stirs something in you, then it makes sense to consider how you can be a part of it. But when you make that decision, you deserve to know exactly how that money is used. So here goes:
We solicit two types of funds: designated and general.
Designated Funds. These donations go to children like Kofi, Kwame, Ama, and Agyei who received new school uniforms in February 2014. You can purchase a school uniform gift card for an honoree, give a school uniform fund through our catalog, or donate on the website and make a note on your donation form that you want to designate your funds for a school uniform. We place that money in a fund for uniforms, and use it only for that purpose. We also have designated funds for school fees, school supplies, bedding and bed nets, desks and chairs, Business Build Grant, and classroom supplies. Our Ghana director purchases items or collects and dispenses funds (in the case of Business Build Grants) that go directly to families.
General Funds. These donations are used to keep Rising Village up and running. On the surface, they aren't as exciting, but without them we wouldn't exist. It's that simple. We use general donation funds for: Isaac's salary (the rest of our team donates their work without pay); transportation costs (some of the items we provide families must be transported from the nearby city of Kumasi); Internet costs (without them you couldn't give online or read this blog post); emergency needs (recently we provided emergency medical testing for a pregnant mother in our program). These costs are paid from our General Expenses Fund, which uses money from any donation that is not designated. One vital way we receive these funds is through partnership giving. Rising Village Partners give a monthly recurring donation that is a set amount. Recently, we asked for 20 new partners who would give $25/month, and we're halfway there. These donors are key to how we continue our mission and purpose. Another important fact: we keep our overhead extremely low - we have home offices and in-kind partners who donate marketing, printing, event-planning, video editing, etc. We are committed to quality, but we find an economical way to acheive it.
We need both kinds of donors, so we don't suggest how you should give your money, we just ask that you consider giving to our mission and purpose in the way you feel led. Sometimes, when a fund is low or our operational costs are great, we may alert you to that and ask for your help. But know that your money is handled with great care so that we can fulfill our mission in the villages where we work in Ghana.
We thought you would want to know.
If at any time you have questions about how we use your money, or how we operate to fulfill our mission, please don't hesitate to contact us. You can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Next post in the series: Stories About How Your Giving Makes a Difference in the Lives of Families