(Chicago, IL) After 237 years as an independent nation, the United States of America has petitioned Queen Elizabeth II to reinstate the world’s most powerful country as a protectorate of Great Britain. President Barack Obama, in a candid yet hopeful statement, commented “Look, do you see what I have to deal with here? I can’t get these (congressmen) to agree on where we order for lunch. As soon as the Republicans determine that a few Democrats want pizza, all the sudden (the Republicans) are all on diets and want to order from Subway. It’s hopeless. But giving the reigns back to Britain, now that’s change I can believe in”The recent move comes as no surprise to political analysts. Every American has by now heard of the sequester, a foolish attempt to lower government spending which has cut programs of everything from White House tours to medical research. This is only the latest of Congress’s ineptitude to pass even the smallest of bills. The only bills that pass congress are ones trying to repeal old bills. Since the Affordable Care Act, donned “Obamacare” has passed, there have been over 30 bills coming from the Republican Congress to repeal it. All of these have quickly died in the Democrat run Senate, “The United States has serious problems. We have to talk about Immigration Reform, Rising Healthcare Costs, Social Security and Medicare Overhauls among a hundred other major issues. If these guys can’t even pass a budget of what they spent last year, I don’t see any reason the American people wouldn’t a more experienced foreign government presiding over them” Said Ben Smith of Politico.The mood of the American people seems hopefully apathetic towards the situation. With the average American not knowing who their Senator, Congressman or some even the Vice President, there doesn’t seem to be much reason for them to care. “I’m never going to Washington DC and I’m never going to London, so whether there’s a pompous asshole ruining my life in Washington or in London it really makes no difference,” said local Pizano’s Pizza Owner, Mark Smith. Smith’s comments are echoed from Maury Sandberg, owner of Red Hots Dog Joint, “Look I’m no political expert, but nothing can be worse than who we have currently.” Mark continued at the recent “Rally to Give Our Country Back”, “… And do they still wear funny hats over there? Because that alone would be a major improvement.”In recent opinion polls, a United States Congressman has been the least favorable job with an approval rating of just 8%. Meanwhile, in a recent survey by Gallup Media, favorability ratings of British Parliament have been, 18% approve, 9% Disapprove, and a whopping 73% “We govern ourselves?”.But not everyone is convinced that giving up a representative government is such a good idea, namely those in our current government, “You guys need us, what else would you do every other November than hear our voices and see us posing in front of flags?,” Jeff Flake (R-Arizona),”But I have to admit, the Revolutionary War did bring us all together in a special way, and another one would increase defense contracts to my state, so f*ck it, I don’t care anymore”. Flake is seems to be in the minority however, as we found out when bumping into other members of Congress, “Look I don’t want to give up my pension as much as the next guy,” said Richard “Dick” Durbin (D-Illinois) “But there comes a time when a person needs to do something right for the people… And if giving the United States back to Great Britain makes sure that our entire executive branch is fired and can’t ever return to any sort of power, we have more wins than losses there” Dick said to Tribune, “Plus I won’t need my pension if we have universal healthcare, bonus!”
What does transparency and accountability mean to you and how does it relate to maintaining high ethical standards? Most nonprofit experts will tell you that accountability means being honest with your stakeholders and with the public about your organization’s finances, governance, and management — in short, being upright in all of your professional conduct. Transparency allows those outside the organization to see your level of accountability and to realize the level of ethical standards you have set for the ministry. Together, these three key factors build trust and assure the public that your organization is what it claims to be and is worthy of financial support.But transparency and accountability mean more than that to you as a grant seeking nonprofit ministry. Your organization’s ability to attract grant funds rests on being transparent and accountable. If you’re not completely trusted, foundations probably will decline to provide the funds you need to carry out your mission.As a nonprofit, you are given tax-exempt 501(c)(3) status because you exist to serve the public and better your community. The public is your stakeholder. Your ministry depends on public goodwill even more than for profit-making organizations. When the public loses faith in a nonprofit, donations fall and the nonprofit’s ability to do its job is compromised.Unfortunately, distrust of nonprofit organizations runs high. A Harris poll in 2006 found that only 10% of Americans believed that “charities are honest and ethical in using donated funds.” And 33% believed that “nonprofits have seriously gone off in the wrong direction.”As a Christian ministry, you are more vulnerable to problems and failure, including scandals, if you do not prioritize transparency and accountability. A recent investigation illustrates how Christian ministries are often watched more closely by the public and especially by government entities.In 2007 Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa, the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, announced his investigation of six prominent televangelist ministries for possible financial misconduct. Although these ministries paid their executives high salaries and made large expenditures for some questionable items, they were no less thrifty than other large nonprofits. In fact, NONE of the top executives of these six ministries are near the top of the highest paid nonprofit executives. The highest paid nonprofit executives all came from museums, healthcare agencies, and universities…yet there was no investigation of these types of organizations. The implication is clear, a nonprofit claiming to be a Christian ministry is held to a much higher ethical standard, even by secular individuals and entities.Establishing the level of trust necessary to attract funding will require you to take proactive steps. Look for our follow-up article on how to perform an analysis of funding preparedness to ensure that your ministry is ready to seek and secure grant funding.