I have learned through my time at college that money is the underlying base of everything any organization can do. Money is the means through which actions can be taken. For example, at Brandeis, I am on the mock trial team and before the Regional Competition in Washington D.C., there was a forecast of snow and none of us felt comfortable driving ten hours in that weather. Thus we needed the school to subsidize train tickets to get us to the competition. After acquiring the funds, we were able to go and compete in D.C. However, none of that would have occurred had we not had the money for those tickets.
I have learned a lot about how money functions in a non-profit, such as the AJWS. Like how though termed “not-for-profit”, the financial goal of an organization like this is to make a profit. This is done through investments, and by gaining a profit, that money can be either saved for a day when the NGO might not have as many donors or used to fund base expenses.
Furthermore, I believe that a common misconception people have when thinking of the money that is donated to an NGO is that 100% of those funds are being directly used in the humans rights work. This is not true for any organization. One of my responsibilities here at the AJWS is to review expenses incurred and ensure that they were not personal expenses and to ensure the coding of everything is correct. Many of these expenses I review are not donations to grassroot organizations but expenses indirectly related to them, such as airplane tickets, food, hotels, all paid for by AJWS so that staff can go to conferences and don’t have personal expenses when doing on-site work. Furthermore, some of the money goes into expenses such as rent, salaries, insurance and expenses such as these.
This knowledge has shown me that finances are at the base of all the work the NGO does and that the finance department is responsible for the actualization of all the works of the AJWS. Through this knowledge, I know that even though I may not be directly interacting with grassroot organizations or people around the world, my efforts in the finance department are the base for the help we give.
– Melissa Frank