Campaigning, like prayer, is hard. Hard to commit to and hard to stick to. Sometimes we do it without being sure we’ll ever see the impact of our actions. It takes time, and energy, and belief. Where charity to the stranger on the street with a cup, or to the aid organisation cold-calling you for your support, often produces a “feelgood factor”; giving up time and energy to fight for a change in the world around us can often produce a “feelbad factor”, as we see the changes we have fought for kicked around, edited, watered down.
But we believe it’s worth it. It’s worth it because the things for which we campaign are not merely a “temporary fix”, nor are they simply to appease the guilt we feel for our complicity in an unfair system. We believe that campaigning can make a difference, and it will make a difference into the future. We believe that it challenges people not only to hope for change, but to be a part of the change they hope for. Ultimately, we believe that the more we involve people in campaigning, the more we will see the kind of justice that we are calling for.
So it can be really frustrating when we find that, like any other organisation, we rely on money to make our work happen. Not a lot of money, to be honest – SPEAK have always been careful stewards of the money they receive (ie. we’re good at working on shoestring). We are always conscious that every penny we spend has been given to us by someone who believes in what we’re doing. But the unfortunate truth is that campaigning costs money, sharing the mission SPEAK costs money, keeping in touch with a network of young people costs money.
Over the last year, some of SPEAK’s costs have increased, some of our sources of funding have waned, and it has become an increasing struggle sustain a small office in London with only two full time members of staff. We have many dreams and projects we’d love to pursue, and are keen to continue the work we are committed to. In the last 14 years, we have seen a generation of young people and students find their voice, and we are more passionate than ever about empowering the next generation of young Christians to speak out on issues of global justice.