“A market-driven organization is driven by what the market wants, regardless of what the marketing department feels like doing.” – Seth Godin
This Godin quote caught my attention. Reading through a ministry lens, I tried to translate the concept to fit a missions organization, or any charitable organization or NPO. Here’s what I came up with:
“A ministry is driven by what its benefactors need, regardless of how the donors allocate their gifts.”
But that transliteration didn’t sit well. Partly because I know it’s not true of all NPO’s or ministry organizations.
I would never purport to speak for another institution. Their financial statements, fundraising efforts, programs and activities reveal the rudder that determines their direction.
I can, however, share the philosophy that “drives” OneHope.
Our “market” is our mission field, which is bi-fold. We not only directly serve the children and youth of the world, but we also serve global churches and ministries by equipping and resourcing them to minister to young people. But they are not what “drive” us.
We are a non-profit organization funded by donors and partnerships. But they are not what “drive” us.
It might sound a bit unorthodox, but instead of being driven, we have chosen to be led. That then begets the question of who are we following, and how do we know where we are going?
Our end goal is “God’s Word. Every Child.” That’s a tall order, but one we are eager to fulfill. Our passion to achieve this mission fuels us—and everyone who partners with us—to help expand God’s Kingdom. Ultimately we feel that the best way to get there is to be led by the Holy Spirit.
Instead of merely praying for God to provide funds and partners or reveal new mission fields, we pray two things specifically: for pure hearts and motives, and that God will provide the laborers.
That’s it. That is literally it.
So when we have a donor write us a large check earmarked for a specific region or ministry, and there is no suitable ministry partner operating in that region under an appropriate model, we return the check. God’s Word. Every Child.
When we are advised to modify our models to make them fit what is currently “hot” or sound trendier to the ministry or marketing world, we hold firm that we are God’s Word. Every Child.
When the “market” says go fast and furious, we value building relationships over time more than raising funds quickly to react to a scenario or circumstance. We keep the pace toward our goal steady and secure. God’s Word. Every Child.
Although there are a lot of great business ideas and principles out there, we utilize them if they fall within the scope of God’s Word. Every Child., but we don’t try to twist them to fit us. Kind of like Seth’s quote; it fits his market, but it may not fit ours because we’re just on two different journeys.