The last few weeks down in Haiti have been some of our most difficult yet for a lot of reasons. In the midst of this, there have been quite a few potential decisions that have come up and that we have been praying through as we seek after GOD’s guidance. During this same time I have been reading a book about nonprofit management by Peter Drucker that describes different types of nonprofits and how they should be run. All of these things have come together to culminate in this blog and with this problem…
How do you make good business decisions when your business is taking care of children?
That question may not make sense initially, but think it through a little. When you make business decisions, you have to look at how every thing affects the bottom line whatever that may be (in for-profit businesses that is profit, in non-profits that can be a variety of things). When you make decisions for children, there is no real bottom line aside from how it will affect their lives and their future. In fact, there are many times in every parent’s life when they made sacrificial decisions that did not help them in anyway but helped their children immensely. When you paid for that drum set knowing your child would never be a professional drummer, when you bought your child their first car, or when you stayed up all night at their slumber party so that their friends would have a good time.
The point is that there is a very difficult balance that has to be achieved when running a nonprofit like All Things New. As managers we have to be very smart and well-thought-out with our decisions because you (our supporters) trust us to make the right decision from a business standpoint. As caregivers (almost parents) of 34 children we have to always make sure that we do what is best for our children no matter what because they are the reason we exist.
I believe it is at this point that many orphanages lose their way and focus so much on the “business” side of things that the people who run these places forget about the children. For instance, there are 2 children in our orphanage right now that we are trying to figure out how to keep them with their parents. Their parents love them very much, but they cannot afford to feed them well or pay for their school on an annual basis. From a business standpoint, it would be easier and better financially to keep them at the orphanage. That way, we could continue to seek sponsors for them (as it is we will ask their existing sponsors to continue helping them but not actively seek others) and we could make sure that they were being taken care of well. If we are able to reunite them with their parents, we will have to make home visits, find jobs for their parents, and support them when support is needed (ie. school or other possible things that may come up). But the bottom line is that the best thing for these 2 girls is to stay with their Mom and Dad who truly love them and want to take care of them.
We have some big decisions like this for the future of All Things New as well. We have always thought that we would purchase land and then build a new orphanage wherever this land may be. We finally got to the point where we could afford to purchase land when we had some other possibilities come up. Some of these possibilities would include us losing some of the control we have over our organization, but it would get our children to a much better location much more quickly (which is very important for us right now). From a business standpoint, maybe some of the things we are working on would not make sense, but they would definitely be what is best for our children. And here is what we, All Things New, can promise you…
We will always do what is best for our children.
We are first and foremost an organization that exists to worship GOD, and we can do that right now by taking care of the children that He has blessed us with. Because of this mission that we have, our decisions will always focus on doing what is best for the children that we love. If you are reading this, I know that you understand this completely and I know that you would not want us to make decisions any other way. I also know that it has to be difficult for our supporters sometimes because you have to trust that our decisions are in the best interest of the children and of the organization. Actually, I oftentimes think about how much trust that you have in Jessica and me and how much you must love the children that we love to support them like you do. I promise that this level of trust has not gone unnoticed by us, and we promise to always seek after GOD and do what we think is best for our children. Prior to every major decision we spend time in prayer, we seek after the advice of our board, and we have an advisory team made up of GODly men and women who provide us with sound wisdom.
The point of this blog is that we are running a nonprofit business, and as such we have to make sound business decisions. However, more importantly, we are an organization that exists to bring glory to GOD by caring for His children, and our decisions will ALWAYS reflect this no matter what.