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Let’s talk about money: supporting Quaker work in difficult times

Maísa Monteiro reflects on what Britain Yearly Meeting's fundraising team has learned during this difficult year.

The temporary closure of Friends House in London had a significant negative impact on our finances in 2020. Image: BYM
The temporary closure of Friends House in London had a significant negative impact on our finances in 2020. Image: BYM

As we approach the end of what has been a very difficult year, the fundraising team thought it would be good to reflect on what we've learned in the last 12 months.

First and most obviously, Britain Yearly Meeting (BYM) could not have made it through without your support! It's been a tough year for all of us, and BYM's finances have been hit hard by the loss of income from lettings at Friends House, among other things.

So it's just wonderful to have the continued support of Quakers and other generous funders, and to know that there is still such a strong commitment to making sure the centrally-managed work of Quakers in Britain continues.

Other than that, over the year we've noticed several key principles that have become key to our work.

Equal generosity equals equitable giving

In 2020 we've been talking more and more about the principle of equal generosity. We are committed to encouraging Friends to give equitably. All giving is valuable – whether Friends can give £1 a month, or £100 a month. For us, the principle of equity is more important than equality of gift amount.

Legacies allow us to send a positive message to the future

It may sound paradoxical, but our conversations with the friends and family members of those who have left a gift to BYM in their will have shown us how life affirming legacies are. They allow people to send a personal message after they have gone.

Giving this way allows us to contribute to causes that we are passionate about. It allows us to ensure that our spiritual home will continue to be there for the generations that come after us. A question we can all explore, at any age, is: “What message do I want to send those that come after me?"

Individual Quakers are the best advocates for Quaker Work

Throughout the pandemic, we have felt the passion of Quakers who continue to support Quaker work. Many Friends have not only supported us directly with their giving but have also become advocates within their Quaker communities for increased giving to Quaker work. We've had conversations with many Friends who ask us for support and resources to enable them to speak on behalf of the centrally managed work we do – work that has been discerned by Quakers across Britain.

Working with our grant-making partners

Given the financial pressures that we like so many organisations have faced this year, we are especially grateful for the continued support of grant-making trusts. Our work as a fundraising team continues to inspire new trusts to give, and to demonstrate to long-standing trusts how their contributions make a real difference. Throughout the year, we have kept our funders up-to-date as programmes have adapted and evolved due to the pandemic. Together, our grant-making partners, old and new, help us to ensure that Quaker communities are supported and Quaker voices are heard for years to come.

Let's talk about money

For many Friends money might be a difficult topic to talk about. However, if we want the work of Quakers to continue, we need to challenge this myth! Many Friends have been very vocal and communicative in talking to us about how BYM is funded and the different ways they and their Quaker meetings can support this work. We want to encourage this discussion to continue, as the more Quakers are aware of and connected to how Quaker work is funded, the more likely it is that the work will endure long into the future.

While the months ahead will be difficult, together we can ensure that Quaker communities thrive and that we continue to build a more equal, just, sustainable and peaceful world.

The Britain Yearly Meeting Fundraising Team wishes you all a happy holiday, and hopes for a better 2021!

Find out more about supporting Quaker work