FINANCES—GENERAL STATEMENT by Dr. William Seath
From Chapter Six of "Unto the Least of These"

There are THREE major sources of what may be termed EARNED INCOME for the Rescue Mission. There are others but these three are primary resources.

  1. Industrial work—the collecting of paper, furniture, etc. Craft work and manufacture of saleable items, for example, rubber mats.

  2. The sale of meals and nights’ lodgings.

  3. Care of the aged and disabled.

Certain dangers are inherent in any type of activity designed to earn income for the Mission. The wise, dedicated Executive will remain aware of these and be careful to guard against them. It is comparatively easy for the newcomer, the inexperienced, the over-anxious to be "swept off his feet" by the prospect of what he may think of as "easy money."

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS EASY MONEY!

Any activity undertaken by the Mission to raise funds or EARN income must be thoroughly studied, carefully analyzed to be sure it will not in any way hinder or hamper the spiritual work or bring reproach on THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS. In the operation of an Industrial, Craft, Manufacturing program dangers include:

  1. The possibility of becoming commercial.

  2. The danger of too much emphasis being placed on a client’s ability to produce rather than spiritual and physical need. This is a very real danger.

  3. The executive and staff may be tempted to spend valuable time in supervising "productive work" which should be used in the ministry of The Word and the preaching of the Gospel.

  4. It is possible that temporary success of such activities may urge the Executive to strive to be more and more self-supporting. This causes a reduction in contributions and time spent in the real work of The Gospel is reduced in proportion.

  5. The cost of maintaining such programs with buildings, trucks, equipment, higher insurance, staff, can very easily be greater than the income.

  6. Some Executives fail to properly charge FULL operating costs against earnings and thus get a false idea as to the financial value of the work.

  7. Federal laws are constantly being passed which increase the problems of these activities. Unions also have become more and more antagonistic to this type of work.

When kept in balance with the Spiritual emphasis, operated efficiently and effectively, such programs can produce substantial income for the work. Exercise the greatest care in this. Some Missions find that renting beds on a nightly basis provides not only income but a much needed service. Handled correctly this can bring funds to help maintain the Spiritual. Selling of meals is less popular than it used to be as a source of funds because of the complex nature of this particular business.

All we have said regarding the other possibilities of earned income applies here. A rather recent development in EARNED INCOME lies in the care of the aged and disabled—not the chronically ill—with payment received through Social Security checks, Old Age Assistance, etc.

This is an excellent ministry but one requiring trained personnel, good facilities to meet health standards, the ready availability of medical service and a very efficient administration. Income may be earned in this way but a good cost accounting system is advised to make sure it is income producing and not income losing. In the majority of Missions most income comes from contributions.