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Act 23, 2009 (XXIII) – Act approving the Fundraising Policy of the Home Missions Board. 19th May 2009.

The General Assembly note the following Fundraising Policy approved by the Home Missions Board and instruct the Board to proceed in accordance with its terms. They instruct the Board to continue discussions with the International Missions Board and Communications Committee in order to enhance the Church’s communication and fundraising capabilities.

Home Missions Board: Fundraising Policy

Introduction

The Free Church of Scotland is committed to the doctrines and principles of the Word of God and it carries out its work and ministry in obedience to the great commission to ‘go and make disciples of all nations’. The Home Missions Board was first appointed by the 2008 General Assembly for the oversight and administration of the ministry of the Free Church of Scotland within the United Kingdom.

Activities

The Board has a wide remit ranging from the filling of congregational vacancies to the administration of the social responsibility ministry of the Church. The different areas of the Board’s activities are listed below:

  • Asian Outreach – ministry to Asian communities at present focussed in Glasgow.
  • Church Extension – the planting of congregations in areas where, usually as a result of mission outreach of an existing congregation of the Church, a nucleus of a new congregation emerges which shows promise of development, and where it is felt such a development can be realised only if full-time pastoral care is given to the new congregation.
  • Church & Manse Building Fund – assisting congregations (typically smaller congregations) in the upkeep of congregational property through the provision of loan and grant funding.
  • Redevelopment – the revitalisation of work in congregations which have declined and which have potential for growth.
  • Service to Overseas Students – missionary work among overseas students and the residential international community throughout Scotland.
  • Social Responsibility – administering funds set aside for support of social responsibility projects, e.g., residential homes, rehabilitation programmes, and housing support.
  • Sustentation – overseeing the financial aspects of regular ministerial appointments.
  • Youth Work – including Youth Camps, Sunday Schools, and Youth Work in general.

Use of Resources

In order to fulfil its wide remit the Board faces the challenge of balancing the needs of the people with the limited financial and human resources available. The Board enters upon this challenge acknowledging that it is the Lord who calls men to the gospel ministry, and recognising that it is the Lord who opens people’s hearts to the grace of the gospel. The Board is conscious that Christian liberality is a spiritual exercise; ‘if we have grace we will give’, and our giving reflects the ‘genuineness of our love’ (2Cor.8:7-8). All of the Board’s activities are carried out in prayerful dependence on God, who alone is ‘Lord of the harvest’ (Luke 10:2).

The Purpose of the Policy

The 2008 General Assembly approved the implementation of a new financial remittances system for congregations. The new system introduces the concept of project-led funding and associated fundraising to the remit of the Board. The Board’s responsibility to fundraise will commence with the introduction of the new system in January 2010. The cost of ministry in financially viable congregations will be met from the Ministry Levy collected from such congregations. The Board’s fundraising activities will cover the following areas: (i) to support the cost of ministry in financially marginal congregations; (ii) to support the cost of ministry in financially assisted congregations (where such ministries are approved in consultation with the local Presbytery); (iii) to meet the costs of the additional ministries under its remit; and (iv) to meet the costs of new projects which fall within the Board’s remit.

The Board will undertake to raise funds annually to support ministries in the three categories mentioned above as follows: 30% of the budgeted costs in the year commencing January 2010; 40% of the budgeted costs in the year commencing January 2011; and 50% of the budgeted costs in the year commencing January 2012.

Thereafter it is anticipated that the Board will raise at least 50% of the annual budgeted costs of supporting ministry in the aforesaid categories. The purpose of this Policy is to assist the Board in its fundraising activities.

Elements of the Policy

The funding achieved from the Board’s fundraising activities will fall into one of two categories: unrestricted funds and restricted funds. The Board will allocate restricted funds in accordance with the wishes of the donor. The Board will use its discretion to allocate unrestricted funds for the furtherance of its activities as required.

Fundraising Activities

The Board will give consideration to its annual fundraising activities in any one year at the time of considering its Budget for that year. This would normally take place at the meeting of the Board in June of the previous year. The Board will at this stage (i) identify the amount of the budgeted costs which must be covered by its fundraising activities; (ii) identify the projects within its remit which are considered to be viable fundraising options; (iii) appoint a Committee with the responsibility to carry out and oversee the Board’s fundraising activities. The Board may exercise its power to coopt suitably qualified individuals outwith its membership as advisers and may also appoint a fund-raiser to help with the fundraising activities throughout the year.

The following list is illustrative of some of the ways in which the Board will carry out its fundraising activities:

  • The Board will arrange meetings with Presbyteries, Deacons Courts and congregations, in order to disseminate information about the identified projects, and in order to appeal for financial support for these projects.
  • The Board will prepare leaflets to promote its projects and to appeal for support from individual contributors. The leaflets will be distributed to individual contributors through existing communication channels, such as Church Magazines, via congregations, and also through mail drops to existing contributors.
  • The Board will use the Church’s Website to make information about its ministries and its fundraising activities available and accessible to individuals and groups within and outwith the Free Church of Scotland.
  • The Board may also, where appropriate, pursue support for its projects from grant-awarding Trusts, Christian charities, etc.

Codes of Fundraising Practice

The HMB will adopt the Institute of Fundraising Codes of Fundraising Practice that are relevant to the Church. These codes include:

  • Fundraising Code of Conduct
  • Fundraising from Grant Making Trusts
  • Acceptance and Refusal of Donations
  • Data Protection
  • Charities Working with Businesses.

The codes stipulate the areas that are mandatory by law, and also indicate courses of action recommended as best practice.

Full details of all the Codes of Fundraising Practice can be found on the Institute of Fundraising website: www.institute-of-fundraising.org.uk under “Best Practice” and “Information/About Fundraising”.

Minimising exposure to risk

The Board will minimise the risk to which the Church and the funds raised are exposed by:

  • Ensuring that the activities of the Board are carried out in accordance with General Assembly legislation;
  • Ensuring that funds are not directed to projects which the Church cannot afford;
  • Ensuring that new projects, or the extension of existing projects which have entered their review period, are not progressed without considering the current financial situation of the Church in consultation with the Board of Trustees and its Finance Committee;
  • Ensuring that in the case of all new projects, income and expenditure budgets are prepared for the lifetime of the project;
  • Ensuring that when new project budgets rely on substantial external finance, such money is secure;
  • Ensuring that financial activities and performance are monitored against budgets from year to year.

Financial Considerations

Annual budgeting reviews will make appropriate provision for the Board to manage all existing projects. The Board will ensure that new projects are reviewed annually and that, where fundraising efforts have failed to provide the necessary support for the new project, appropriate action is taken to terminate the project. Care will be taken to fully cost applications for new work so that any such projects are not jeopardised by possible under-funding.

Review Period of Policy

This Policy will be subject to annual review and approval by the Home Missions Board of the Free Church of Scotland at its first meeting subsequent to the meeting of General Assembly.