CAP is undertaking a significant but exciting change:
the service model is changing.
Moving forward, CAP will no longer be serving clients directly through Debt Centres. Instead, your generous support will be invested into a Money Mentoring model. Money Mentoring involves training church-based staff and volunteers in mentoring, interpersonal and financial capability skills so churches can implement effective money mentoring ministries to best reach people in financial distress in their community.
Watch CAP Australia’s CEO, Rosie Kendall, share about the purpose of this change.
Why is the model changing?
Here are three key reasons behind the decision.
1. CAP is committed to more effectively serving the mission God has set before us
The mission has not changed. CAP continues to exist to equip the Church to be the hands and feet of Jesus so that no person in Australia faces financial distress alone and everyone has the opportunity for transformation.
Debt Centres have provided excellent care and outcomes over the past 20 years. But, over the past two years, CAP has needed to evolve its model to best serve the mission.
Money Mentoring is designed to increase the confidence and competence of any Christian with a heart to help others, making it more effective in equipping people to be the hands and feet of Jesus in a practical, meaningful way. Money Mentors walk alongside those in financial distress to empower individuals and families to find financial freedom. But it is about much more than this – it provides opportunities for discipleship, for people to be connected into church community and to experience whole life transformation.
2. CAP needed a service more flexible and affordable for all churches
The former Debt Centre model had a specific focus on providing a service only to those in debt. This meant many struggling people who were in financial distress, but not in debt were turned away and redirected to other services with the hope that they’d find help somewhere else.
Money Mentoring provides flexibility for churches in two ways. The training is online and self-paced, and it gives churches the flexibility to implement Money Mentoring ministries that will most effectively reach those in financial distress in their community. For example, some churches may run group sessions, others may provide one-on-one mentoring. Some churches might connect their Money Mentoring ministry to another ministry, like a food bank.
Debt Centres were also expensive for churches and CAP to run, meaning CAP was limited in the number of churches we could partner with. CAP has committed to making the new service significantly less expensive for churches, so it is more accessible for all churches – no matter their size or financial means.
3. The need is greater than ever
In these last few years of the pandemic, more and more people are finding themselves in financial distress.
Someone can find themselves in financial distress as a result of reduced income, increased cost of living or a change in their circumstances. There are many people who are not in debt but are still experiencing high stress due to being unable to pay their bills and provide for their family.
CAP needed to change the model so that no matter the reason someone finds themselves in financial distress, they can find help. The Money Mentoring Model fills a unique gap in community services for all people in financial distress.
The new model has huge potential for growth and greater impact in helping more people than ever before, as more churches come on board.
CAP will no longer be serving clients directly through Debt Centres and a head office Debt Operations department. Instead, CAP will redirect resources and invest into the Money Mentoring model.
The Money Mentoring model is designed to equip churches with the tools they need to walk alongside those in financial distress. The tools and support provided by CAP are designed to support a Money Mentor, rather than supporting a client through case management.
Money Mentoring involves training church-based staff and volunteers in mentoring, interpersonal, and financial capability skills to help disciple people in financial distress. This means a participant will receive not just financial capability assistance, but will be given the opportunity to build a deep and long-term relationship with their Money Mentor – connecting them with a church community, educating them on other helpful services available, and providing holistic care for their individual situation.
The model champions churches to respond to the biblical mandate that God has given to care for the poor and marginalised. It empowers churches to use the training to implement a money mentoring ministry to suit their church and community context.
Churches have the flexibility to create a Money Mentoring ministry that best suits their church and community context. This could look like group sessions or one-on-one mentoring, or something connected to another existing ministry, like a food bank.
Throughout this change process, CAP has consulted church partners, other organisations in the financial hardship sector and the CAP Board of Directors. In July last year, CAP began to run Money Mentoring alongside Debt Centres. By the end of May this year, more than 50 Money Mentors had been trained from 24 churches. The feedback from partner churches, trained Money Mentors and the participants they have been supporting has given CAP the confidence that the new model will better serve the mission God has set before us.
“I’d say in a nutshell it’s empowering the church to meet the real need. Before, [our church was] meeting a need and we were doing it well, but it seemed like it was a small percentage need. Now I feel like the scope has broadened and now CAP is still empowering the church to meet a need but you’re empowering the church to meet a greater need, with quality tools.”
– Darren, Money Mentor from C3 Victory
CAP consulted with various Australian Social Services members, financial hardship consultants and had external collaborators contribute to the curriculum of the training. CAP also consulted staff and church partners throughout the process.
The feedback received has been incredibly helpful and seeing a broad group of people come together with enthusiasm about the new model has been encouraging.
This feedback included how the Money Mentoring model fills a unique gap in community services for people in financial distress. As more people are in financial hardship and needing to access support, local churches are well positioned to provide that support, since many are already on the ground with different outreach ministries in place. By equipping church staff and volunteers with interpersonal, mentoring and financial capability skills, churches are empowered to further support and build relationships with people in need in their communities.
Some of the stakeholders CAP consulted throughout the development process of Money Mentoring included:
- Thriving Communities Partnership (TCP)
- Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS)
- Financial Counselling Association NSW (FCAN)
- Financial Capability Network (FCA)
- Ecstra Foundation
- ICAN Learn
- Chalmers Centre (Faith and Finances)
- Australian Christian Mentoring Network (MEQ)
- National Church Life Survey (NCLS)
- ASIC and Treasury (National Financial Capability Strategy)
- Diversity and Inclusion Board subcommittee
- Centre for Social Impact (UNSW)
- Melbourne Institute
- Way Forward
- Salvation Army Moneycare
- Good Shepherd (Financial Independence Hub and Microfinance)
- Financial Rights Legal Centre
Previously, the average cost of running a debt centre for a church was $10,000 per year. This didn’t include associated costs of paying a church staff member or travel costs for getting to appointments.
CAP has committed to making the new service significantly cheaper for churches at $45 per month/$540 per year. While this means that CAP will need to raise more income through fundraising, we believe it is the right move to ensure all churches – regardless of their size or financial capacity – have the opportunity to partner with CAP in Money Mentoring.
In the new model, the training is online and self-paced, making it far more accessible to Money Mentors around the country. Previously, the training for someone to run a Debt Centre involved travelling to CAP’s Head Office for an intensive.
Furthermore, when someone becomes a Money Mentor, they also join an online community of Money Mentors from other churches to continue to build knowledge and experience as time goes on.
The way this model has been designed – focussing on equipping and supporting Money Mentors rather than supporting clients through case management – means that CAP can train and support more church-based staff and volunteers without significantly increasing the head office operational costs. Over time as more Money Mentors are trained, the Church can reach more people in financial distress while CAP is able to increase support of the Church at a more affordable, sustainable rate.
As the Money Mentoring model continues to grow and be developed, your continued support will be more important than ever. CAP is committed to ensuring Money Mentoring is accessible to all churches by significantly reducing the cost for them. This means that CAP needs to absorb more of the costs to strengthen and support churches through the continued development of the model. Your support will be crucial in equipping more churches with Money Mentors to help transform the lives of more people in financial distress.
There have been changes to the organisational structure as Debt Centre operations have been winding down and CAP shifts focus to the Money Mentoring model. However, within the Debt Operations team, no CAP employee has been made redundant. As the needs of CAP as a ministry have changed, new job opportunities have been identified. Some employees have chosen to explore these new opportunities, while others have chosen to move on from CAP.
The donations raised through the End of Financial Year Appeal will be directed towards the new Money Mentoring model as Debt Centre operations are coming to a close. If you donated to the Appeal, you can be assured that your gift will have an important impact in helping to train church-based staff and volunteers as Money Mentors to support people in financial distress.
Anyone in Australia can still contact CAP on 1300 227 000 for help with finances. We’ll connect them with a church-based Money Mentor in their area.
As CAP is still in the development stage of this model, if there isn’t a Money Mentor in someone’s area, they will be referred to another support service. Over time as this new model grows and more churches partner with CAP to train Money Mentors, there will be more Money Mentors able to provide support to people in financial distress remotely through online options.
In 2021, CAP launched the development model. Since then, CAP sought feedback from churches, Money Mentors and others in the financial hardship sector and has made improvements to the model. While we will continue to look for learnings and update the model as time goes on, we are confident in this model as we’ve already seen lives impacted and more churches are expressing interest in finding out more about partnering with CAP.
By the end of May 2022, more than 50 Money Mentors had been trained from 24 churches. CAP’s resource is invested into the Money Mentoring model to transform the lives of people in financial distress, and we hope to see 400 Money Mentors trained from 200 church partnerships by 2025.
CAP’s Debt Operations staff have been working closely with each client to find the right solution for their situation. Some have been connected with a Money Mentor, while others have chosen to continue their debt journey with other excellent debt management organisations such as Way Forward or a local financial counsellor.
A Money Mentor is trained with the skills to form meaningful relationships with the people they mentor, to go on the journey with them towards financial wellbeing. This is key to Money Mentoring as money is such a complex and deeply personal topic.
The CAP Money course is a UK based product and Money Mentoring has been specifically designed for helping people within the Australian context. Where the CAP Money course has a set three session structure, a Money Mentor is equipped to walk alongside someone or a group until they are on their way to reaching their financial goals. As everyone begins from different places, and everyone learns at different paces, the number of sessions between a Money Mentor and participant can vary – some people need more support while others need less.
Money Mentoring builds on some of the fundamentals of the CAP Money course and uses the same ‘3 account money system’ to help people organise their money, but with much more support and resources.
Furthermore, Money Mentoring can be tailored for an individual participant or specific group’s situation. The Money Mentor has a toolkit with activities or sessions to pick and choose from, rather than a workbook to work through front to back.
CAP Australia continues to have an affiliation agreement with CAP International and has strong relational support from all other CAP nations. CAP Australia’s work on the new model is being shared with other nations, but at this point CAP Australia are the only ones running the Money Mentoring model. The founder of CAP, John Kirkby, has been a strong supporter of the changes being made and is cheering Rosie and the team on as CAP continues to strive towards most effectively serving CAP Australia’s mission.