HOPE worldwide is committed to strengthening our partnership with the churches to glorify God and strengthen our shared mission of serving the poor and needy. Many thanks to church leaders from around the world who in a spirit of love and cooperation contributed ideas to enhance this relationship.

You are encouraged to send comments or suggestions at any time to Mark Templer, Chair of the HOPE worldwide and Benevolence Committee (mark_templer@hopeww.org), or David Blenko, HOPE worldwide Vice President of Development (david_blenko@hopeww.org)

A church resource page on the HOPE worldwide website (www.hopeww.org) appears to be a good way to implement many opportunities for improvement identified by the survey. Diverse elements under consideration for this page include information on signing up for HOPE worldwide email updates, establishing a local HOPE worldwide program, and locating open employment opportunities with HOPE worldwide. There is a live version of this page online for your review at www.hopeww.org/churchresources. Your ideas about content for this page are welcome.

Below is a summary of comments received and related discussion.

Communications and interaction

Comment: HOPE worldwide should raise the profile of its work around the world, including more complete coverage of the breadth of countries and sites where HOPE worldwide has programs.

Discussion: HOPE worldwide is proud of its partnership with the churches that brings hope and changes the lives of more than a million of the world’s most poor and vulnerable people each year. We want to provide better program coverage, as well as to equip churches and disciples to “speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute” (Proverbs 31:8). A primary focus of this effort is our recently upgraded website (www.hopeww.org). As discussed below, this includes regular updates on HOPE worldwide victories and needs. We are also extending our communications through various publications, DVDs and appearances at church conferences. Due to resource constraints, we continue to rely heavily on our program leaders for content. We will remind them of the importance of updated information to our church partners. Please send us material about programs in which you are involved if you are so inclined. We are also considering other ways of promoting better interaction, such as a weblog (blog). We welcome your thoughts in this regard.

Comment: HOPE worldwide should provide more powerful stories that communicate needs and victories that can be used in HOPE worldwide contributions (for those who have them).

Discussion: A new section on our website, called “Prayer Requests”, contains stories to communicate HOPE worldwide needs and victories. This regularly updated section can be found under the “News” link at the top of the homepage. We welcome any suggestions in this regard.

Comment: HOPE worldwide should establish more direct connections between first world churches and specific third world programs.

Discussion: HOPE Youth Corps and HOPE Volunteer Corps provide excellent opportunities to connect with leaders and programs in the host countries. The HOPE worldwide Global Summit, held the third weekend in May each year, provides an unparalleled opportunity to interact with country leaders from around the world. Occasionally we also sponsor “Compassion Travel” tours to enable small groups of committed HOPE worldwide supporters to visit overseas programs. We encourage involvement in these programs to establish and develop relationships with distant programs. These are the programs that we have found, over time, produce the best connections abroad. Our experience with a variety of other initiatives over the years is that they generally have not been as fruitful as they are administratively demanding. We welcome the opportunity to discuss specific ideas or suggestions in this regard.

Balance of local and global involvement

Comment: HOPE worldwide should help churches to achieve “a balance of local efforts and involvement in the global effort.”

Discussion: Many committed supporters of HOPE worldwide who generously support our global programs also seek opportunities to serve locally. We believe that there is a tremendous opportunity for additional local engagement and involvement in volunteer programs. We have been greatly impacted by the strong response, for instance, to opportunities to volunteer on the Gulf Coast of the U.S., to aid victims of Hurricane Katrina. Similarly, our Martin Luther King Jr. “Day on Hope” day of service in the US involves increasing numbers of cities and volunteers each year, and is attracting national attention within the nonprofit sector. One focal point in our efforts to expand local volunteer opportunities is developing a series of local volunteer opportunities under the banner of a Season of Service. Another focus is developing partnerships with the American Red Cross and other national nonprofits that provide excellent collaboration opportunities. Here again, we welcome the opportunity to discuss your ideas.

Comment: HOPE worldwide should make more resources available to assist local programs in fundraising and other areas.

Discussion: The church resource page discussed above is expected to be a clearinghouse for this kind of information. We are also exploring other opportunities such as an “Ask HOPE worldwide” section of the website that might, for instance, make available the expertise of US program chief Antonio Boyd, chief development officer David Blenko or the global HIV/AIDS expert Dr. Mark Ottenweller. A great deal of program expertise also resides with individual church members. A weblog or similar Internet forum may also be very helpful in sharing information. We welcome your comments or suggestions.

Participation by non-US churches in HOPE Youth and Volunteer Corps

Comment: HOPE worldwide should create more opportunities for participants from non-US churches in HOPE Youth Corps and HOPE Volunteer Corps

Discussion: HOPE Youth Corps and HOPE Volunteer Corps are managed by volunteers on a cost only basis. Funding for these programs is from participants and does not fully cover the direct cost of these programs. Though all are welcome, we realize that travel and expense costs are too much for many non-US disciples. Thus, at international locations we include “locals” on a scholarship basis in order to provide an enriched experience for all. Ideally, we would have a scholarship fund. The schedule for these programs is posted on our website one year in advance. Your ideas and suggestions in this regard are welcome.