Negotiating for survival: Balancing mission and money

Elisa Henderson (Lead / Corresponding author), Victoria Lambert

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    4 Citations (Scopus)
    22 Downloads (Pure)

    Abstract

    The impetus for prioritising money over mission in charities is increasingly pertinent as public sector austerity progresses in the UK. Mid size charities – who are heavily reliant on grant funding - have experienced proportionately greater challenges to austerity than larger entities. A substantial part of accountability efforts in mid size charities are directed towards funders, where funder imposed frameworks and measures may direct charity attention away from social mission towards funder needs, causing mission drift. Four charity case studies and grant funder interviews were conducted to investigate how charities can pursue social mission in a challenging funding environment. This paper shows that charities can protect social mission despite high dependence on grant funding, but also provides evidence of susceptibility to mission drift in cases where the balance between money and mission changes. Charity accounting systems display notable funder influence. A resource dependence perspective is utilised to highlight the complexity in assessing dependence of charities in a challenging environment and demonstrates the extent of funder influence in accounting and performance systems in these charities. However, charities employ strategies to cope with external requirements, enabling them to retain mission focus.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalBritish Accounting Review
    Early online date12 Dec 2017
    DOIs
    Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 12 Dec 2017

    Fingerprint

    Charity
    Negotiating
    Funding
    Accountability
    Susceptibility
    Resource dependence
    Public sector
    Accounting systems

    Keywords

    • Resource dependence perspective
    • Charities
    • Grant funders
    • Mission drift

    Cite this

    @article{73af1221ff444f60a731e8e5293421fc,
    title = "Negotiating for survival: Balancing mission and money",
    abstract = "The impetus for prioritising money over mission in charities is increasingly pertinent as public sector austerity progresses in the UK. Mid size charities – who are heavily reliant on grant funding - have experienced proportionately greater challenges to austerity than larger entities. A substantial part of accountability efforts in mid size charities are directed towards funders, where funder imposed frameworks and measures may direct charity attention away from social mission towards funder needs, causing mission drift. Four charity case studies and grant funder interviews were conducted to investigate how charities can pursue social mission in a challenging funding environment. This paper shows that charities can protect social mission despite high dependence on grant funding, but also provides evidence of susceptibility to mission drift in cases where the balance between money and mission changes. Charity accounting systems display notable funder influence. A resource dependence perspective is utilised to highlight the complexity in assessing dependence of charities in a challenging environment and demonstrates the extent of funder influence in accounting and performance systems in these charities. However, charities employ strategies to cope with external requirements, enabling them to retain mission focus.",
    keywords = "Resource dependence perspective, Charities , Grant funders, Mission drift",
    author = "Elisa Henderson and Victoria Lambert",
    year = "2017",
    month = "12",
    day = "12",
    doi = "10.1016/j.bar.2017.12.001",
    language = "English",
    journal = "British Accounting Review",
    issn = "0890-8389",
    publisher = "Elsevier",

    }

    Negotiating for survival : Balancing mission and money. / Henderson, Elisa (Lead / Corresponding author); Lambert, Victoria.

    In: British Accounting Review, 12.12.2017.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    TY - JOUR

    T1 - Negotiating for survival

    T2 - Balancing mission and money

    AU - Henderson, Elisa

    AU - Lambert, Victoria

    PY - 2017/12/12

    Y1 - 2017/12/12

    N2 - The impetus for prioritising money over mission in charities is increasingly pertinent as public sector austerity progresses in the UK. Mid size charities – who are heavily reliant on grant funding - have experienced proportionately greater challenges to austerity than larger entities. A substantial part of accountability efforts in mid size charities are directed towards funders, where funder imposed frameworks and measures may direct charity attention away from social mission towards funder needs, causing mission drift. Four charity case studies and grant funder interviews were conducted to investigate how charities can pursue social mission in a challenging funding environment. This paper shows that charities can protect social mission despite high dependence on grant funding, but also provides evidence of susceptibility to mission drift in cases where the balance between money and mission changes. Charity accounting systems display notable funder influence. A resource dependence perspective is utilised to highlight the complexity in assessing dependence of charities in a challenging environment and demonstrates the extent of funder influence in accounting and performance systems in these charities. However, charities employ strategies to cope with external requirements, enabling them to retain mission focus.

    AB - The impetus for prioritising money over mission in charities is increasingly pertinent as public sector austerity progresses in the UK. Mid size charities – who are heavily reliant on grant funding - have experienced proportionately greater challenges to austerity than larger entities. A substantial part of accountability efforts in mid size charities are directed towards funders, where funder imposed frameworks and measures may direct charity attention away from social mission towards funder needs, causing mission drift. Four charity case studies and grant funder interviews were conducted to investigate how charities can pursue social mission in a challenging funding environment. This paper shows that charities can protect social mission despite high dependence on grant funding, but also provides evidence of susceptibility to mission drift in cases where the balance between money and mission changes. Charity accounting systems display notable funder influence. A resource dependence perspective is utilised to highlight the complexity in assessing dependence of charities in a challenging environment and demonstrates the extent of funder influence in accounting and performance systems in these charities. However, charities employ strategies to cope with external requirements, enabling them to retain mission focus.

    KW - Resource dependence perspective

    KW - Charities

    KW - Grant funders

    KW - Mission drift

    U2 - 10.1016/j.bar.2017.12.001

    DO - 10.1016/j.bar.2017.12.001

    M3 - Article

    JO - British Accounting Review

    JF - British Accounting Review

    SN - 0890-8389

    ER -