‘God has heard your prayer and remembered your gifts to the poor.’ Acts 10:30-31
Recently, I checked off a to-do I’ve been meaning to-actually-do for some time: I added two local organizations to my charitable giving to complement my regional and international charitable giving.
I say this with some trepidation because I don’t want to attract praise for doing so–“So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.”–but what I do want even more is to encourage everyone to consider starting to give charitably so that we can help out those who really need it on an even bigger scale. We are wildly, fantastically rich, in all ways, in first world countries, start giving now and you will begin to see all kinds of personal benefits.
Start anywhere. Really, don’t sweat it.
It’s so easy to start. I started giving $10/month to three charities – less than one percent of my income. As I continued, and realized I could give more, I started increasing my giving and expanding the scope of those I was donating to.
This time around I want to focus on the immediate how-to because it’s so easy and so convenient and is so rewarding to know that, yes, while you are incredibly blessed in your country, you do want to help others and you are trying and you have tangible actions that show your heart is in the right place.
My Recently Added Charities, and Why and How I Found Them
The first organization I was looking for was something like a shelter, a homeless center, a soup kitchen, something like that but in my immediate town if possible. After searching for ‘shelter’ with my town name I came up with a few and one of them was Joanne’s House – Durham Youth Housing & Support Services. They provide beds, clothing, meals, and more for homeless or at-risk youth in my area.
The second organization was similar in helping the needy but came from a Christian angle and I particularly wanted to support Christians showing the love of Christ as Christ teaches us to do – directly in contact with the needy, face to face. I found this organization from a similar Google search and landing on this information page. I clicked on the link and searched for them on CanadaHelps.org.
Hope Community Church serves my area and provides a number of services, like Emergency Food Clothing & Furniture, Client Advocacy, Referrals,
Community Lunch, Volunteer Opportunities, Summer Camp for Children, Internet Cafe, Disaster Services, Christmas Food & Toy Assistance, and Pastoral Care.
These are just two examples from the charities I recently added to my list to serve my local area. I’m now proud to support organizations helping people immediately in my area, in my country, and around the world.
What charities should I give to?
Pick organizations that hold similar values to your own. This will give you the confidence that your money is going to the right things and in the right way. You might especially value helping the poor, or helping the elderly, or addicts, or the hurting, or soldiers, or protecting animals or nature areas.
Picking organizations that align with your goals will help you feel like you’re on your own team. You probably won’t give for long unless you have a personal, emotional connection with the organization you’re giving to. Pick ones you have a passion for yourself!
How do I give?
You can give in many different ways. You can mail, sometimes setup direct deposits from your bank, or, as I prefer, do it online at at time and on a schedule of your own preference. Some organizations, like Salvation Army, provide a way to donate from their website, but there are a lot of charities that will accept donations from charitable giving platforms like CanadaHelps.org. They simply provide a way to connect givers with organizations. They even facilitate providing contact info to the charities so you can be contacted – but it’s totally optional and up to you. They provide immediate receipts and I’ve never had an issue claiming tax deductions for my donations.
Check out this article for various charitable giving avenues or try googling for “charitable giving” for sites that connect organizations with people like you so you can consolidate your charitable giving like I do with CanadaHelps.org.
How much should I give?
You can’t give more than 100% but many giving even 1% can accomplish much, much more. #Charity365
Give anything. I mean it. Start small, start tiny if you need to (I did!). Just start. :) Once you gain confidence and familiarity with your giving, you’re going to want to increase your giving to increase your impact. Believe me, if you’re the kind of person that reads this type of blog then you will find great satisfaction in growing your charitable giving.
How regularly should I give?
Start anywhere. Really, whatever you’re comfortable with. I started giving once every 3 or 4 months, then I started giving once every 2 months, and now it’s once every month. I set a reminder for myself near the beginning of each month to make my donations. It’s a good schedule to make your donation and then to pause for a few weeks until it comes around again. Not too frequent, but not too long that it goes out of your mind completely.
You feel like you’re part of the solution. That’s satisfaction! #Charity365
Enjoy your giving. Know that you’re helping others around you who really need it. Be proud that you not only talk the talk but you back it up and walk the walk of loving and caring for others by real, practical, and regular decisions to help those in need.
A little something else…
I’ve written two other posts on charitable giving. If you’ve made it to the end of this post you might be interested to see just exactly what kind of giver I was back when I started thinking and writing about this. Hint: I was giving virtually nothing – we can all start somewhere! ;) You may find these other two posts of interest.
The first, in December 2010, was Charity 360. In that post, I revealed that I wasn’t really giving officially but I wanted to change that. I also wanted to give in a sustainable, scalable way and in a personally satisfying way. This is the post that got me thinking down the #Charity365 path.
The second was #Charity365 in February 2015 where I discussed where I had come from since the first 2010 post and how my giving had changed and how my thoughts on giving had progressed.
Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Luke 6:38