Our relationship with money starts at an early age. Educating youths on financial literacy  will stand them in good stead well into the future. This is a common thread through all of the programmes we offer, which aim to amplify our impact beyond a simple one-off intervention.

Last week, a representative, from JA Malta Foundation, delivered a talk to a group of Voluntary Organisations (VOs) at the Iniala Bureau, Valletta. Her talk was followed by presentations from ZAAR Crowdfunding Malta, HSBC Malta Foundation, and Academy of Givers. 

The attendees hailed from diverse organisations and age groups, a testament to the universal nature of proper money management skills and their effective implementation. 

An HSBC Malta Foundation rep holds a presentation at JA Malta's Voluntary Organisation event.

The talk, titled, “Financial Sustainability for VOs – A Relationship between Money and Strive”, stressed the importance of a positive relationship with money. This is even more critical with VOs, where our money is not our own, so we must take further precautions to ensure that our operations are financially sustainable. Passion and goodwill can only get your VO so far! Money awareness is vital for all Voluntary Organisations to get a handle on, even in the early stages of operation – it is a sink or swim affair. 

The talks were very interactive, and afforded the opportunity for members of the audience to pitch in with their insights, forming a mini-forum of sorts. The free exchange of ideas and opinions contributed to the main message, advocating for increased financial literacy. The VOs present networked over a coffee break, highlighting the need for inter-cooperation in the voluntary sector to better serve the under-served. 

One of JA’s core tenets is financial literacy, an essential life skill everyone would do well to learn, and put into daily practice. Financial literacy is beneficial for individuals to master so that they can take relative financial control over their lives, and recognise the things holding them back from doing so. This overlaps with another JA pillar, Entrepreneurship. Going into business, like running a VO, requires a certain degree of financial literacy in order for it to be a sustainable venture. If spendings are unnecessary or excessive, or earnings are lacklustre, it will ultimately impact the bottom line.  Despite the fact that profit is not the end goal, resources are finite, so a VO must always be on the lookout to generate funding, which requires an entrepreneurial mindset to solve problems and be financially sustainable in the long-term. 

Crowdfunding platforms  make it possible for ordinary people to get the backing they need to fund their goals. These offer Voluntary Organisations access to funding, with less red tape. Such platforms drastically cut down the time between applying for funding and disbursal of funds. This means that a VO can get their hands on much needed funding, much sooner than usual, a boon to the voluntary sector and its dependents. Entrepreneurship and financial literacy, therefore, are not only a means for personal betterment, but can be used as a springboard for re-paying our debt to society, hence the word philanthropy, phil andros, love of people.