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The Salvation Army is a global not-for-profit evangelical Christian organization that is known for charitable work and has a military structure. Currently it has established a base in one hundred and nine countries and its international headquarters is in London, England (Murdoch, 1996).
The Salvation Army mission was originally founded by a couple going by the names of William and Catherine Booth and it was initially known as the East London Christian Mission. The organization was formed with a mission of performing evangelical, social and charity work. It has succeeded in this mission since it has been able to spread the message of Christ to the poor, destitute and the hungry. Not only have they met their spiritual needs but they have also managed to meet also their physical needs (Murdoch, 1996). .
The Salvation Army is an organization that for a long a time has been opened to anyone irrespective of the age, race, and gender. Its set objective is to enhance the growth of Christianity as a religion with the desire to advance education, and eliminate poverty. It has a flag that symbolizes the organization's battle with sin and social evils. The colors on the flag symbolizes different things e.g. the yellow represents the fire of the holy spirit, the red represents the blood that was shed on the cross by Jesus Christ, and the blue represents the purity and righteousness of God. It has a star that shows the organizations war cry which is "blood and fire." The war cry defines the blood that was shed at Calvary and the fire of the Holy Spirit that is believed to purify the souls of believers. Basically the flag represents the entire mission of the Salvation Army as an organization with a Christian background (Murdoch, 1996).
The Salvation Army has a number of stakeholders that are in a way directly or indirectly involved in the daily running of the organization. Its internal environment includes stakeholders like the general, commissioner and the territorial commanders, the high council, uniformed officers, the non-uniformed staff, the active soldiers who are basically the followers, the retired officers, and finally the families of the uniformed officers.
There is also an external group of stakeholders like the governments of the nations that the organization operates, the financiers, the recipients who benefit from the services provided by the organization, the families of the recipients, those relatives seeking missing people, international aid agencies, actual military organizations, and finally the regulatory environment. There are also other significant stakeholders who are indirectly attached to the organization e.g. other organizations following the Christian faith, those in need, and the providers and suppliers of alcohol (Daft, 2007).
Within the organization, these stakeholders have interests e.g. power and expectations. Theses are some of the issues that the Salvation Army as a Christian organization must address and resolve amicably. There are those stakeholders that who have very high levels of interest with relatively little amount of power and authority. There are those stakeholders like the uniformed officers, the territorial commanders and the general who are known to have large interest and also great power and authority at the same (Fitzgerald, 2007).
The religious and professional roles that exist within the organization present a very vital platform for exploring stakeholders' issues. These issues may include things such as governance, power, and matters pertaining to status. There are matters involving the remuneration of senior uniformed officers that must be addressed (Jeffrey, 2003).
The Salvation Army as a non- profit organization must be smart in its quest to seek finances and resources to be able to fund and actually implement its activities. It is also important take note of the fact that since the organization has a clear and strong view against alcohol and gambling, it is therefore not in a position to accept funds and resources that are accrued from such activities. This in itself also poses a major issue that the organization has been dealing with simply because there has been a territorial difference concerning what should be regarded as acceptable and unacceptable sources of finances (Cruz, 2000).
In dealing with the underlying stakeholders' issue, the Salvation Army has therefore over the times crafted a number of strategies to handle these issues. One of the strategies has been building trust through online mechanisms. The Salvation Army has managed to develop its own website that is designed to unveil the organization's needs and expectations with those concerned parties in mind. The website gives information regarding the new and ongoing programs and services that are being offered by the organization. This is very necessary in highlighting the various ways that the organization is serving the community in order to be able to attract more stakeholders. The website has also been able to provide a very elaborate platform to avail annual reports to update the various stakeholders on how finances are being managed in order to build confidence and trust with those concerned stakeholders (Ostling, 2005).
There are those members of the public who may have the interest and desire to be part of the organization. The website offers an appropriate mechanism necessary to provide the essential information to these kinds of willing volunteers.
The Salvation Army like any other non-profit making organization has managed to use both formal and informal research methods to establish the needs and requirements of its key stakeholders. This has been done both by means of engaging different people personally and also through the internet.
The Salvation Army has managed to focus on maintaining their website in a way that it only provides information that is relevant to their stated mission as a non-profit making organization. By doing so, the organization has managed to communicate with their stakeholders in way that the person previous experience with the organization is enhanced. Still, this way the organization is able to build trust with their stakeholders.
The Salvation Army like any other organization has used a number of strategies to source for funds from its stakeholders and also to build the necessary trust. One of these strategies is the inclusion of a hyperlink the organization's webpage that allows visitors to directly donate towards supporting the activities of the organization. Through this way, the Salvation Army as an organization has managed to openly demonstrate its need for charitable gifts. At the point where an individual has clicked and gone to the donation page, the Salvation Army as a non-profit organization has also managed to build trust with its stakeholders by demonstrating its safety precautions (McKinley, 1995).
As an organization, it is obvious that the Salvation Army is would definitely like to expand its online membership. Non-profit making organizations like the Salvation Army must therefore take advantage of both online and non-online opportunities to communicate and source for funds. In doing this the Salvation Army includes its URL in brochures, newsletters and even released magazines. By doing so the organization has managed to pull visitors to their website showing their openness by frequently updating the website and ensuring it remains relevant to their specific mission. It a fact that when an organizational website does not have up to date information then the image they are demonstrating to the public is that they have nothing new to offer or share.
The internet has offered the organization with an avenue to enhance the four principles of stewardship. These principles include reciprocity, responsibility, reporting, and relationship building. It common knowledge that most of these stakeholders that offer financial support to these non-profit organizations would always desire to be recognized and appreciated. To show the organization's gratitude and modesty, the Salvation Army has always used both online and non-online mechanisms to send thanksgiving messages to its well-wishers and donors who not only participate financially but also through offering of advice and operational ideas.
The Salvation Army has also used the internet to demonstrate its transparency to everyone concerning how they use each penny they acquire from well-wishers.
In the year 2005, the Salvation Army after realizing that many retailers were not anymore interested in soliciting their properties, the organization decided to come up with virtual kennels. Anybody who had an interest in coming up with a virtual kennel was allowed to register at the organization's website. Those persons were after that encouraged to send e-mails to other various people they knew in order to offer invitations and expand the stakeholder territory necessary to support the organization financially (Winston, 2000.
The Salvation Army managers just like any other non-profit making organization deal with diverse stakeholders. They are charged with responsibility of marketing the organization to attract volunteers and donors. A lot of time this has brought about conflicts and power struggles within the organization and this has been a major challenge that the Salvation Army as a non-profit making organization has been dealing with. As the organization expands and spread its wings even more, this is expected to be even worse (Craig, 2003).
It obvious that the more people an organization like the Salvation army helps, the easier it becomes to source for funds. As a result of the decline in economy due to the global crisis, the Salvation Army has had some difficulties too in its quest for financial support. Even as other organizations continue to abuse the system of funds solicitation, the Salvation Army has still managed to remain consistent in terms of transparency and honesty. Many organizations have been seen to be competing for the needy in the society (children, the old and drugs addicts) To be able to remain in business.
The Salvation Army on the other hand has continued to set goals and mechanisms of measuring their effectiveness, and handling appropriately the environmental uncertainties. The organization has put in place open mechanisms reliable in dealing with stakeholder's continued issues concerning power and conflict.
Another strategy that the Salvation Army has been seen to appropriately use to deal with its numerous stakeholder issues is by managing itself in an open system. The organization is fully dependent and reliant on its environment by consuming and offering services directly or indirectly to its environment. It has continually remained dynamic, adapting to its ever changing environment. The organization has staffed itself with active and enabled resources, both human and non human, in order to be able to achieve its set goals and objectives. The organization has recognized the fact that internal efficiency is a very vital principle required to take input, give appropriate output, and also to manage the internal activities to be able to even handle the challenges and uncertainties that an organization faces.
Salvation Army must organize itself appropriately in terms of governance and strategic vision. Strategic planning and positioning is therefore very essential in driving a non profit organization just like the profit making organizations. Organizational strategy positioning is all about what an organization desires to be after different periods of time.
The Salvation Army should strategically position itself by creating and affirming its mission very clearly. Its mission should be to offer evangelical services, as well as social and charitable work to the global community. The mission should not end there since it also entails spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ to those regarded as the needy in the society. This group includes the poor, destitute, and the hungry. The organization should not only endeavor in trying to meet the society's spiritual needs, but also their physical needs to.
The objective of the Salvation Army as a non-profit making and religious organization is to enhance the growth of Christianity as defined by the biblical doctrines taught by Jesus Christ. The army has also strategically positioned itself in a way they are able to participate in the activities that are designed towards advancing education, doing away with poverty and a variety of charitable activities that are geared towards benefiting the entire global society with regards to the diversity in culture or rather way of life (Walker, 2001).
To strategically position itself, the Salvation Army should also have a clear understanding of the needs of its environment as well as create an appropriate communication mechanism that is able to make it remain relevant with its environment. It should also be able to determine its internal strengths and use it appropriately for the success of its internal and external activities (Eden, 1998).
The strategy should also seriously take into consideration the future plans and objectives of the organization and develop an implementation plan. The organization should be able to strategically position itself with regards on each of the following strategic factors; needs (both internal and external), the people, services that are being offered, the competitors, financing, geographical positioning, labor and the special assets.
The Salvation Army has to do a number of things in order to successfully sustain their growth and success in the future. The organization must engage its stakeholder frequently and allow them to give input. The organization should also be able to establish potential contentious issues and in turn address them promptly (Eason, 1995).
It is important for the Salvation Army in the desire to achieve its dream to establish a well and able management team to drive the agenda of the organization. The management should be able to offer proper direction necessary to run and expand the organization. It should also be able to come up with strategy, goals and policies that are relevant to the entire organization and in agreement with the entire mission of the organization. They should also lead the implementation of the organization's strategies (Eden, 1998).
The organization should dynamic in its approach and dimensioned both structurally and contextually. The structural dimension basically offers a description of the internal operations of the organization and on the other hand the contextual dimension describes the entire organization in terms of size, outreach, outlook, environment and last but not least, the organizational goals.
It is very necessary for the organization to carry out formalization. This basically describes the procedures, activities, job descriptions, regulations as well as policy papers.
It is also important for the Salvation Army as a profit non-making organization to specialize. This basically defines the level at which the tasks and responsibilities within the organization are split into distinct jobs. Each service provided within the organization must be able to have well cut out group of tasks to perform; this in other words can be described as the division of labor (Taiz, 2001).
There must also be some degree of hierarchy in authority. It should be clear to everyone on where and who should be approached on different organizational issues that require agent attention.
Another very important matter that must be addressed by the Salvation Army to be able to sustain their growth and future is centralization. This is all about having a single center of authority to reduce chances of conflicts within the organization. There should be a single decision making organ to enhance centralization.
It is also necessary for the Salvation Army as a non-profit making global organization to embrace high levels of professionalism. Level of formal education and training should be a very vital factor to put into consideration when staffing both the headquater and regional offices all around the world (McLaughlin, 2006).
Personnel ratios must also be taken into serious consideration when deploying different people to different jobs and department.
It is also important for the Salvation Army to establish an organizational culture that defines the set of values and beliefs that should govern how every stakeholder should handle him/herself within their environment. It is also important to mention that this also involves the ethical behavior expected of each person, commitment, and efficiency (Harvey, 2000).
Organizational culture provides an elaborate medium essential in uniting the organization's members. It usually never documented but can be seen in the organization's stories, slogans, events, and even the dressing (Duhe, 2007).
The whole idea behind understanding the structural and the contextual dimensions of an organization it to be able to create an organization that is able to achieve high performance levels as well as efficiency and effectiveness (Winifred, 2005).
Efficiency basically describes how organizations are able to deploy resources in its quest to achieve its set goals and objectives. It revolves around how people (as a resource) are able to use the available funds at their disposal to produce certain amounts of organizational desired outputs. Effectiveness on the other hand basically describes the level at which organizations have managed to achieve its goals.
To be effective, the Salvation Army must have clear and focused goals together with a set of elaborate strategies necessary to achieve them. It should embrace the use of technology to enhance both efficiency and effectiveness of the organization (Harris, 2006).