Several years ago, I was asked to speak at a conference for a Child Daycare Association in St. Louis. When I was asked to speak, they told me to choose a topic that would help the owners understand the importance of helping them build a stronger business.
I spent several days with my partner, at the time, trying to put something together that would truly benefit our audience. Because I am a banker and have had some experience with daycare loan requests, I knew that they were generally considered “high risk” because they not typically run very well financially. Their “mission” of providing childcare was always foremost in their minds and the “money” portion of their business always took a backseat.
I titled my presentation “Mission vs. Money” and it was very well received at the conference. After the presentation, I have been able to step back and realize that this topic also speaks to most not-for-profit organizations.
In all Mission based endeavors, the “mission” is always the most important thing – obviously. In the case of The Sparrow’s Nest, our mission “is to provide a Christ centered shelter and to educate homeless, pregnant and parenting young women by providing a wide range of services that empower them to make positive and healthy life decisions for themselves and their babies.” We will do almost anything to help fulfill our mission but it is SO important that we also have a focus on the proper handling of our finances/money so that our mission lives on for a long, long time.
There are simple things that will help us keep this focus – Do we have a budget? Do we handle our finances properly? Do we collect monies that are due to use for services provided? Do we watch our expenses and take necessary discounts when available? As the treasurer for The Sparrow’s Nest, I can honestly say “yes” to all of these questions and believe that we are on target financially!
Money and Finances should not consume us – we know that God will continue to provide for us as we continue to seek Him and follow His direction and not our own – but it is so important that we always serve as good stewards for those finances that He has entrusted to us by always handling them properly. Our Mission should always be first and foremost to us but if we lose sight of good sound fiscal health, our mission can go away and we will no longer be around to help young women and their babies!
Mark Hollander serves as The Sparrow’s Nest Vice President and Treasurer. Mark has been married for 10 years to his amazing wife, Melissa.
Mark has two daughters – Katie and Maggie – and one beautiful grandson – Blake.
Mark attends Faith Chapel Church in O’Fallon and is a member of the Advisory Board of Directors.