Almost immediately after NBA separated from United Christian Missionary Society (along with Pension Fund and Church Extension), Disciples executives developed a plan to avoid competition in fundraising for national and state agencies–Unified Promotion. “The intention was that no agency would be able to appeal directly to Disciples congregations for funds, and denominational support for each agency would be apportioned from a common fund to which all cooperating congregations would contribute.”
In the 1930s, the 12 NBA Homes considered participating but rejected the plan as too similar to their situation with UCMS. Not being a member of Unified Promotion did create problems, however. NBA’s autonomy was often referred to pejoratively as “independent,” and sometimes NBA was denied a role in conventions because it was not “a Brotherhood Agency.” On the other hand, NBA’s lack of participation was sometimes confusing to loyal supporters of the unified approach to fundraising.
Orval Peterson was the first ordained minister to serve as NBA President, and he made joining Unified Promotion “a central goal of his administration,” in order for NBA “to participate fully in the developing life of the denomination… Four years later, when the denominational restructure was completed, a process in which NBA participated fully, the National Benevolent Association of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) became the Division of Social and Health Services for a restructured denomination. (Inasmuch, p103-106.)
Joining Unified Promotion did contribute to other financial challenges during this era, however. This required NBA “to operate all the Homes out of one general operating fund,” similar to the UCMS period. “Individual facilities had no incentive to raise gift money or improve management… all deficits were covered automatically. By 1971, this situation had reached a crisis; a few Homes were providing the surplus that kept others going.” In response, NBA pursued federal HUD funding and decided to no longer “take on implied or contingent liabilities which it could not fulfill,” which included making changes to the cottage program and “not entering into any more life-care contracts.” (Inasmuch, p117.)