About Us: Our Process



Bright Hope World’s key strength is relationships.

We are particularly good at finding and developing relationships with exceptional people working amongst the poorest of the poor. This is not something that is easy to quantify, nor does it follow strict procedural lines. Instead, it is something of an organic process that is, ultimately…relational.

Despite this flexibility, however, we place great importance on due diligence and we are very experienced at detecting those who have dishonest intent or are simply ‘dreamers’. Our reputation – and the viability of our commitment to all our partners – depends on us having a strong and consistent track record in finding the right people. In our view, we cannot afford to get it wrong. And, by the grace of God, we rarely do.

When we are developing partners, some of the general principles we apply include:

The overall process for developing Bright Hope World partners follows these broad steps (click the links to expand):



  • The majority of potential partners are introductions from existing partners or others we know well. Some come from us specifically looking for particular ministries in particular areas. Very few come by the potential partner contacting us directly, and such approaches tend to be gently rebuffed.
  • The process usually commences through electronic communications. We are initially trying to learn as much about the person as possible. At this stage, we are less concerned about ‘what they do’ than ‘who they are’. If the person is pushy or demanding, then the conversation usually ends quickly. At this point, time is our friend, not our enemy.
  • If we like the person, what they are doing and where they are doing it, we would typically arrange to visit in person – usually after about a year of communicating. Again, urgency is not a driver. We will do what we can to get there, but we are not in a hurry. If it does not work out, for whatever reason, we are quite relaxed about that. We wait for God to open the doors.
  • In this early period, we are trying to assess the relational capacity of the people. We do not drive the conversation; it is up to them. We tend not to respond immediately, but try to manage the pace of the conversation. If they get too pushy, it tells us quite a lot about them. We are looking for people who are already doing something significant. As time passes, if they become impatient, there is little we can do.
  • At this stage, it is very important that we let people know we are not promising anything, even if we come to visit. This can be difficult, because a visit often creates a lot of profile for people and others in the community may assume that money comes with a visitor.
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  • In the first visit, we would typically stay for 3 to 4 days with the potential partner. We want to see them as close up as possible. At this stage, we are trying to assess their character, not their project or work. We have to be able to trust the person, and get on well with them. We are assessing their attitudes to us and to other people. How do they interact with their children? Are they patient? How do they interact with the beneficiaries of their project? Are they relaxed with us? What are they like when they are tired? Such questions are crucial in assessing whether someone will make a good partner for us.
  • It is important for us to ask questions and listen carefully to the answers. We pay close attention to what is not being said. If possible, we try to talk to some other people in the area about the potential partner. We are interested in whether people that come to visit are relaxed with them.
  • If it is clear that there is little potential for partnership, the person will be told soon after the visit that we will not be proceeding.
  • If, after the first visit, it is deemed to be positive, a second visit will be planned. Between visits ongoing dialogue will continue. If we think there is potential, the conversation will move towards their vision. We will focus the discussion on what they want to see in the future and their plans or strategies to achieve this. Inevitably, this will be quite large and often broad and unfocused.
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  • Subsequent visits to partners are to maintain and build trust and understanding, assess the impact of the partnership and if the understandings are being fulfilled, think through and plan the next steps, meet beneficiaries and hear their stories and obtain reports.
  • The second visit is the time for decisions to be made. A second visit to the potential partner obviously signals that we are more than a little interested in partnering with them, although partnership has not yet been initiated at this stage. During the second visit – which is usually 2 to 3 days in duration - the discussion will focus on what the potential partner is doing and why. It is important to endeavour to determine the scale of the project when it is fully realised. This will determine how much will be expected from us in terms of financial recording and accountability.
  • From the time we first hear about the person or we begin conversation, at least 12 - 18 months will have passed at this stage. It may be 3 years. In some cases, it may be up to 10 years.
  • We always commence partnership at as small a scale as possible in terms of financial commitment. When money enters the relationship, the dynamic changes. The partner may often come under considerable pressure from their community and there is potential for what they are doing to hit serious problems. People who did not want to be involved with what the partner was doing initially may become very keen to ‘join the board’ or have their family involved once external funding appears. Local authorities may also want a ‘piece of the action’. If we start a partnership at too large a scale and with too much overt financial involvement, we are setting the partner up for failure or even putting them in danger.
  • We typically break the project down into steps and identify the best way to initiate it. The initial financial commitment would usually be less than US$5,000 with a new partner.
  • A donor partner is not typically engaged until all the issues around starting a partnership are ironed out. Partners in these early phases are often not listed on the Bright Hope World website or available for funding purposes. In such cases, the partnerships are funded from our reserves or ‘General Fund’.
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Once a ‘potential partner’ becomes a ‘partner’ we begin a relationship that will persevere as long as is required. We do not place a limit on how long we stay involved – we simply follow the relationship and see where God leads us.

We do, however, take partnership accountability seriously, and we will maintain close communications with a partner to ensure their work is progressing well. The following are general principles we apply in terms of accountability:

  • We are not primarily concerned about the minute details of how every dollar is spent. Our focus is ensuring our partners have strong and robust systems in place for recording and balancing their income from us and other donors, and their costs with receipts, bank statements and other relevant documentation.
  • We are looking first and foremost at the outcomes achieved by the partnership. We do not pursue micro-management of the finances. We are, first of all, friends and we must build and communicate trust. To jump straight to talking about money when visiting is not what friends do. Time is spent first engaging with the partner. Financial questions come naturally as part of the discussion and from different angles. If engagement is not undertaken effectively, the true picture will never be discovered, even by trawling through the finances.
  • For larger partners, or those with multiple components to their ministry, we produce an annual cashflow spreadsheet that is agreed to by our Executive Leadership Team and then sent to the partner and Partnership Facilitator, so we are working from a shared understanding. This forms the basis of the funding but also gives momentum to the vision so that changes can be seen from year to year and compared.
  • Trust requires that the partner has the ability to change the use of the funds if that is required and justified. It is, after all, their project and if things change then our partners need to have the freedom to respond appropriately. We look to see our partners achieve the right outcomes, not just stick to an inflexible plan. In most of the countries in which we operate, major influences (such as failed harvests or political violence) are out of the partners’ control. They need to be able to flex as things change. If they have to wait for us to come or get permission at every turn, the power has shifted from the partner to us and the donor. Money has taken control, not the outcome we agreed to. Of course, as trust and confidence develops, there will be dialogue about major issues as a matter of course. We trust their judgment to reach the outcomes we have discussed.
  • Because of the focus on building trust and on up-front due diligence, it is extremely rare to see any kind of financial impropriety among our partners, even after several decades of work.
  • Social accountability is as important as financial accountability. We seek to meet and talk with other people involved in the partnership on subsequent visits.
  • The ability to read body language is essential. In most cultures, it is very embarrassing to own up to failure. We have to be able to read the unspoken cues and to back off from direct confrontation, especially in front of other people. It is as important to be able to read these cues as it is to read a spreadsheet. The cues will tell us much more accurately what the story is.
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OUR CORE BELIEFS

Our vision of seeing the poorest of the poor become spiritually and physically self-sustaining.

Our mission is to develop and resource partnerships with indigenous people who have a vision to transform their communities.

Our values are:

- We focus on the poorest of the poor

- We invest in strategic partnerships

- We are field-driven

- We emphasise sustainability

- We are committed to a low overhead structure

At least 90% (and often 100%) of the funds we receive go to our partners in the field.