Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Focus and Direction, Integrity, Faith: Aligning Your Values With Your Philanthropy

SALT acts on seven foundational values:
·         Faith
·         Shared Responsibility and Leadership
·         Focus and Direction
·         Listening
·         Integrity
·         Collaboration
·         Continuous Learning

Our values determine the framework of our organization in both semesters of the year. Before each school year, members of SALT revise the values to make sure these points still reflect how the group approaches social justice. In this way, SALTers stay well-informed of both why and how we go about pursuing and understanding social justice as an organization. The members of SALT, the social justice ministry of the Chapel of the Resurrection at VU, work within the context of being “the salt of the earth” (Matt. 5:13). Faith, service, and social justice are important parts of both our mission statement and what is reflected through our work.

Last year’s World Relief Campaign entitled “Kenya Dig It?” funded the construction of a well at a hospital in Kenya. In this project, SALT partnered with a non-profit organization in Chicago called Vision for Kenya. This organization was started by five native Kenyans who, having received their college educations in the United States, wanted to identify specific opportunities in Kenya that would have the greatest impact in the development of the country. In the process of selecting a project, the members of SALT considered how the mission of Vision for Kenya fit into SALT’s goals for the campaign (number of people affected, sustainability of the project, consideration and involvement of local people, specific ways that social justice is being pursued). We discussed how the construction of a well would not only increase access to clean water, but also contribute to infrastructure of the village and reduce the amount of diseases circulated through contaminated water. By identifying the ways that this project aligned with our goals as an organization, we felt more invested in the work that we carried out over the course of the World Relief Campaign.

Although SALT acts on the basis of a Christian faith, it is important that all non-profit organizations, secular or religious, have mission statements that accurately reflect their values and provide a clear purpose for their work. Having a clear message, communicated both internally and externally of the organization, can have a significant effect on successful marketing of a fundraising campaign or program development.

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