Friday, January 02, 2009

Besieged by charities?

charity_hands This is the time of year that many of us get besieged by requests from charities asking for money.  The economic downturn has only added a degree of urgency to these pleas for help.  Donations down, needs still increasing, etc., etc. It is easy to either cave in and impulsively give to the charity with the saddest story or say, "A pox on all of your houses!" and refuse to give at all.  Recently I received a letter from a retired man who was terribly upset at the antics of some charities who had pressured him to give more at a time in his life when he was really struggling to make ends meet.  In anger, he decided to cut us all off.  This really bothered me since we are a ministry who does not do direct fund-raising (and never will, as long as I am CEO).

As so, I read with interest a recent article in the January edition of WORLD magazine written by Joel Beltz entitled "Trash it."  In it he reveals not only a few things that fund-raisers would rather you not know, but also how to really help those charities whose work you believe it and even those whose you don't.

Here's a taste of what he wrote:

...I suggest it's time to take control again through an equally simple process. Just throw those appeals away—just as fast as they arrive. Or, if you want to be a bit more civil about it, prepare a form letter of your own to send to the organizations that have been mailing to you. Tell them you no longer want to play this game, and to save them money, you'd like your name removed from their list.

And then. Then get involved in some disciplined, thoughtful—and really generous—stewardship....

Click here to read the whole article. I hope it will help you to be a better steward of God's resources in the coming year.


Matthew said...

I really appreciated this article when İ read it, and it has helped me to think about giving well when I do (which, being a student, is not always easy, unfortunately. : ( )

I also sign up for e-mail prayer letters or mailing lists as often as possible. I'm more likely to read them that way, anyway.

Donna said...

This was an interesting article. My husband and I changed the way we gave in 2008. Each month, God showed us where to give (through prayer, waiting, keeping our eyes and ears open). Our amount was a few hundered dollars and each month was a wonderful blessing to give to - a few donations were to places we had given in the past, but most were new. I loved doing this - seeking God and hearing. That was how we started giving to Voice of the Martyrs a years ago. Two new places we gave to instantly put us a list and now we receive prayer letters, requests for more donations, their monthly magazine, and a min. of three mailouts per month. Since I really felt spirit led to give to them (it was to very specific projects), I considered it a one time donation. Yes, they are wasting their time and money on me now, since I know of their organization and will give with or without a mailout. I have contacted them to take us off their mailing list; they were totally surprised/shocked that we would not want to be on it if we had already donated to them.
I don't let any amount of mailouts affect how and where and to whom I give. I now think its better to choose a few organizations you love and have been given a passion for, and support them as fully as you can.(And I love Voice of the Martyrs).

Glenn Penner said...

Great comments, Donna. Thanks for sharing them. Thank you, too, for the vote of confidence.