I’m the kind of person who doesn’t officially donate to charities. I often do one-time, anonymous donations. My primary donations are my offerings to my church. I, also, regularly put spare change in the Tim Horton’s Children’s Foundation boxes, and I’ll always do the annual Remembrance Day poppy thing, but I don’t really officially donate outside of the church and outside of those small things. It’s something I’ve wanted to change and now I think I know how.
My own problem with donating has been (1) which charities should I support that I’ll feel personally satisfied donating to, and (2) how do I donate in a satisfying and sustainable way.
The first issue, of which charities to support, has been answered this year by my own choices in what I’ve been reading and listening to. I’ve gotten seriously into creation and so have been reading things from Creation Ministries International. I’ve always been interested in very cerebral topics and so I’ve been listening quite a bit to Ravi Zacharias International Ministries. Intelligent, listenable, bible-believing preachers are hard to come by and so I’ve been listening a lot to James MacDonald’s Walk in the Word. It became clear to me what I should be supporting.
The second issue, how to donate in a satisfying and sustainable way, has always bugged me. I always felt that if I won a million dollars I’d donate a large amount of it and it would have a significant impact – something I couldn’t achieve on an average salary. I’m not going to sit around waiting to win the lottery, though, so all that did was eat away at me. This year, once I realized I had three organizations I actually wanted to support, I began to understand that, since I can’t make a huge impact, I will, instead, plan to donate in a sustainable way that most could also do and, if we all did that together, we’d make a bigger difference, at scale, than if I donated a million dollars at once. I decided I would consider my donation as a relatively small, monthly amount, namely $10 per month per organization.
I picked the organizations that meant the most to me and I picked an amount that suited me and that would also add up over time and would mean much more if everybody did the same.
When all was said and done, I donated $360 to three organizations. Actually, I couldn’t easily donate to Ravi Zacharias International Ministries so I donated $120 to Blue Letter Bible, instead. I now have an annual Google Calendar reminder about these December donations and I hope I can keep it up.
The only thing I think I might do differently is to mix up my organizations. I really do believe in the value of organizations like the Salvation Army, youth shelters, international aid organizations, and others. What I am confident in, however, is that when everyone gives to the organizations that mean the most to them, just due to the number of people involved, we’ll be able to cover all of the organizations sufficiently.
I hope somebody finds this plan of value and I hope that ever more and more we’ll find more people donating sustainable amounts to the ever growing benefit of those around us who need our help.
5 thoughts on “Charity 360 #Charity365”
Interesting point about the tithe, Matt — it’s not specified in the NT. I think the 10% thing is a good starting point for Christians, but we shouldn’t be legalistic about it. And of course there’s the debate about whether it’s 10% on your gross or your take-home pay.
However, when it comes to charities, I’ve become increasingly convinced that while giving to organized charities is a calling for many, God has called Andy and I to give closer to home as the need arises. Providing things or money needed at church or for individuals is how God has led us in recent years. And honestly, I get some weird sense of satisfaction out of giving when there’s no way I can get a tax receipt out of it :-). Don’t ask me why.
But no matter how Christians give their money, I think it’s a practice that is losing momentum. I know it is in our church!
I guess what I really want is a plan that most anyone can do so that you would get most people donating a little rather than a few people donating a lot. Donating small amounts at massive scale will always be more than donating lots (within average salaries) at minimal scale.
I suspect a lot of people, me included, feel like they don’t do any good with their small donations but when looked at from the angle of large numbers of people donating small amounts you can start to believe and feel good about your donations and what can be accomplished.
Kind of like democracy. My vote isn’t worth much but if everyone votes the same way than we can make big change.
For us, first and foremost, our tithe goes to our local church and offerings which for us is usually given by way of our time. For other charities, we don’t really do much, I’ve done ‘one offs’ to JVIM and maybe some others but thats about it. Tims charities and salvation army (which I donated my time to for the kettle drive this year) great. Often I get asked at the counter when buying things if I want to donate a dollar here and there, I’m spotty with my response there but all that I do give is already offering, ie over and above the church tithe where I think the focus needs to always be.
I wonder is there such thing as a tithe for Christians? I googled around and the NT verses that speak to it use language that indicates it’s more like an offering rather than something like what the OT Law had.
It’s not something I’ve thought a lot about but I did word my blog to avoid the word tithe as it appears my church givings are just donations like any other. I guess that falls under offerings.
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