For decades, The Salvation Army in developed countries has been blessed to financially support the work of counterparts in developing nations, whether in emergency relief, community projects, or simply the daily costs of operating in some of the most challenging parts of the world.
But what if The Salvation Army in wealthier countries could do more to help overseas partners to achieve financial sustainability, rather than merely provide annual funding? What if Salvationists everywhere were provided with the training and start-up capital they need to pursue sustainable income and support their own community and ministry programs?
That is precisely the goal of The Salvation Army World Service Office’s (SAWSO) new Capacity Building Partnership Initiative (CBPI). And in Italy and Greece (TSA ITY), they’re proving it is possible.
The CBPI empowers TSA territories worldwide to develop financial independence and sustainably operate their ministries and programs. They work together to create comprehensive strategies for income generation and provide capital to test a variety of local fundraising and social enterprise ideas, all while developing the capacity to innovate.
Success in Rome
Although there is great potential for fundraising in Rome, The Salvation Army Italy headquarters lacked the necessary start-up capital to establish a successful program. In their own words: “In past years the command had made only sporadic attempts to pursue such initiatives. When results were positive, there was insufficient funding to continue and consolidate; when results were negative, a fear of losing further funds froze any desire to go on.”
But through a partnership and $136,000 grant from SAWSO and the Netherlands Territory, they were able to hire a professional fundraiser and provide a three-year operational budget for basic equipment, travel expenses, and marketing campaigns. The goal was for the position to become self-sustaining once it had time to establish relationships and a first round of donations.
And the return was clearly worth the investment. The new office generated more than $5 million for other TSA programs to care for the community’s most vulnerable populations. Shelters and meals for those in extreme poverty, aid for large homeless populations, and support for refugee families were all funded through multiple sources including municipalities, regional NGO partnerships, and even European Union grants. Moreover, this strategic investment has given TSA ITY access to a new area of impact and historically elusive resource sustainability.