Photo by Eric Castro
This is part of the Quaker Alphabet Project click here for more information.
M is for Mission
What is your mission? Not a question that is asked often here in the UK. But one that was a common first question among people meeting in Kenya during the FWCC World Conference in 2012. Instead of the more common ‘what do you do?’ they asked, ‘What is your mission?’ How would you answer such a question?
There is a good summary with links to current Quaker missions on the Quakers in the World site. However – it isn’t mission ‘out there’ I’m talking about, but your own individual mission, or perhaps the mission you support in your local worshipping community.
Perhaps your meeting’s mission is to do no more than fulfil Qf&P 4.33, or perhaps there is a calling to work with refugees, sustainability, social justice or some other cause. Or perhaps, as I heard one Quaker say only partially jokingly, ‘it is to earn money to support other meetings in our Area Meeting’. It can even be to do whatsoever you are called to do next as well as you can.
The individual and the community
Work and economic affairs
One of the aspects of parenthood which I enjoy most is putting my mind to trying to solve all sorts of problems. I get a big thrill out of designing gadgets which will make life a little more comfortable. I love to get to work on a thoroughly neglected garden or room and put it right again. I find great satisfaction in being consulted about other people’s problems and helping to sort them out. I have come to the conclusion, therefore, that this is the area in which I shall both find my main direction and satisfy my needs to be creative, practical and supportive. If, rather than concentrating on one particular job or career, I apply myself to tackling the many problems that come my way, I am sure that my life will be more than adequately filled with work that I ‘most need to do and the world most needs to have done’. Thus I shall have found my vocation or mission. It will not mean that all the problems will get solved, of course, or that those which do will be solved satisfactorily every time, but I am sure that it will mean that my relationships with other people will improve and that both the giving and the taking of love will come easier to me.
Helen Edwards, 1992
Have you ever stopped to think about what your mission is or what you might like it to be?
M is for Money
I’m not talking about ensuring that ‘this community should be able to support itself & its activities‘ as I mentioned in Beacons and Burdens. Nor how to increase lettings, as I did in the how to do Marketing series. Both of which are different aspects of income and outcome.
Instead in this post I’m going to cover Petty Cash and other monies. Such monies aren’t large amounts, but tend to be ones that there is confusion over and often cause upset.
Before we start you might want to think about how does your meeting handle money:
- Is there a Treasurer or a team of Treasurers?
- Are they well supported?
- Are things organized so the person responsible for maintaining any inventory has the ability to easily do so?
- Do you have separate Premises accounts and general funds or is everything in one pot?
- Did you know that there are training courses for treasurers and others working with Quaker finances – both on-line and at Woodbrooke?
How are small amounts of supplies purchased?
Warden/Quakers/Another buy with their own funds and claim.
This presumes that person being asked to do the shopping can afford to do this – and puts the onus on them to keep receipts and make an expenses claim. It makes it easy for these small amounts to slip through and be paid for by the individual not the meeting. This isn’t good practice, and it also means that you don’t have an accurate account of how much it takes to keep the building going.
If someone wants to donate in the most tax efficient way, they should claim and donate that amount with gift aid added.
We only have a Petty Cash box/account
Who maintains this and does this mean you are unable to buy on-line or in bulk unless you have someone else pay and reclaim?
We have an account with linked debit card and/or cheque book
This works well for on-line shopping presuming you have accounts and can pay via invoice and cheque book and/or can pay with the debit card. It will mean you are able to buy in bulk. It also means you can pop out with the debit card to cover the last minute pint of milk and a packet of biscuits!
If there are several signatures on this account, including the Treasurer who can both keep an eye on the float level and top it up as necessary, this system can work very well.
We do some combination of the above
This is probably the most practical of options.
Good record keeping and transparent practices are necessary to avoid fraud. Debit cards may make some treasurers nervous as you aren’t able to have two signatures on these, but with a limited account balance this isn’t much risk.
- How does your meeting deal with these types of transactions?
- What advice or good practice could you share?
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