Sydney, Australia

Small-to-medium sized Christian charities in Australia are being offered strategic, administrative and operational assistance to ensure their long term survival in an increasingly challenging and competitive space.

WorldShare Connect, a new offering by the WorldShare organisation, provides support to minor Christian charities and churches by way of compliance expertise, fundraising, administrative accountability, fundraising advice and project management requirements.

WorldShare Joanna Mansfield with partners in India

WorldShare Connect CEO, Jo Mansfield, with partners in India. WorldShare Connect works with Australian and overseas Christian partners to protect the survival of their ministries and grow their impact. PICTURE: Courtesy of WorldShare Connect.

Jo Mansfield, CEO of WorldShare, believes smaller Christian ministries could be under threat, particularly in a post-COVID-19 world, unless they receive appropriate support.

She said WorldShare Connect offered basic office administration, strategies support and other services as a way for those charities and organisations to increase their scale and their team size.

Mansfield said Christian ministries in the developing world have been suffering greatly through the COVID-19 pandemic and it “would be an absolute tragedy” if overseas ministries went even further backwards because their Australian partners could no longer send funds.

“The rationale is that small organisations are facing so many challenges it’s not just compliance requirements going up and they’re struggling to keep their head above water because of that, but it’s also that the landscape of the donor base and support in Australia has changed; so expectations from Australians are much terms of accountability, transparency and reporting,” Mansfield said.

She said trust in institutions had fallen “across the board” and the manner of giving had changed in the past few decades.

“If you look, maybe, 10 to 20 years ago, people gave and Christians gave because it was the right thing to do and that was just bred into them: ‘that’s what you do, it’s part of your social responsibility to give’, whereas now, what we’re seeing is this rise of something called ‘the opportunity givers’ and basically they won’t give until they’re presented with an opportunity.”

Mansfield said this meant the fundraising space had become much more competitive and without a compelling need or opportunity, people would not donate to a cause, while donors were also more discerning and expected stronger accountability, greater feedback and campaign reports.

As president of the Dunamis charity, which educates and supports vulnerable, poor and orphaned children in India, Dr Geoff Darvas says their organisation was struggling before they started partnering with WorldShare about a year ago, a connection he ascribes to God’s intervention.

Dunamis was established by the Grainery Church in Newcastle, New South Wales, about 37 years ago and was experiencing declining donors, lack of volunteers and most recently, challenges due to COVID-19.

“They [WorldShare] came knocking on my door," said Darvas. "They were looking potentially for more charities at that stage in India, but also in different places. She [Mansfield] just rang me out of the blue..."

“Our treasurer had resigned; we were really in the last throes, and I said, ‘Well, Lord, unless you come up with something, you’re telling me that I really need to close this charity’ and along came WorldShare. When they rang me I said ‘Thank you Lord’.”

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Darvas said the main benefits of having WorldShare Connect on board are four-fold, with administrative assistance, due diligence at both ends of their operations to ensure everything is “above board”, tax deductibility, and a “10-fold” enhanced sponsorship experience that ensures sponsors receive relevant information.

“Dunamis means ‘power’, and we had none. We were waning in power until we were able to plug into a source that gave us all these great advantages.“

He said WorldShare Connect also helped charities navigate and comply with the increasingly complex government requirements for charities.

“I would certainly encourage any small-to-medium Christian charity to have a good, hard look at WorldShare. They are exceptional, they are friendly” and had not only allowed them to survive, but “potentially to flourish”.

In a statement, Mansfield said the aim of the new offering is to reduce unnecessary duplication across the sector, but on the Spiritual level it was all about allowing the charities to free their teams from administrative burdens and help engage supporters to better fulfil their Kingdom vision.