how do I choose which charitable cause to support?

By Bethan Walker | 27 April 2012 | Comments (3)

 

Take a look at our six tips to consider when deciding which charitable cause to support.

1. Pray!

The Bible calls us to present ourselves as “cheerful givers” (2 Corinthians 9:7) but also to be faithful stewards of the resources that God has given to us. While we may understand what the Bible teaches us about giving, putting it into practice isn’t always easy. If you are struggling to decide what, how much, when and where to direct your resources, hand it over to God and ask that he guides your big, booming generous heart.

2. What are your priorities?

Perhaps you feel led to give primarily to your local church? Or perhaps you view giving to the Church as supporting a whole multitude of ministries, at home and abroad? Maybe you care about the environment? Have a heart for a particular country or want to support the work of a Christian mission worker linked to your church? It’s important to choose a cause whose work you value so that, ultimately, you become an advocate for that cause and encourage others to get involved. Make a list of issues or areas that are important to you and go from there.

3. Draw on your own personal experiences

It’s likely that at some point in your life you have personally encountered a charity who has worked with you, a family member or friend.

Perhaps at some point in the past you have been in debt, suffered an illness, or have experienced loss. A charity came alongside you and made a real difference to your circumstances. You may not, at the time, been able to ‘give back’ to the charity financially, but now feel in a position to do so.

4. What sort of work does the charity do?

Many charities operate in order to respond to an immediate need. Soup kitchens, for example, are set-up to care for the day-to-day needs of the homeless.

Other charities often look to prevent and respond to long-term issues. There are many charities, for example, who look at the root problem of homelessness, and work to help individuals off the street altogether. Likewise, there are charities who work to make a difference in both the long-term and short-term, however most charities usually have a particular emphasis to their work.

In your giving, it may be helpful to consider whether you looking to make a different to the needs that exist in peoples lives NOW or are looking to contribute to longer-term change.

5. Do you want to give to a small or large organisation?

Large charitable organisations can often be very well run, forward-looking and efficient with their money. Just because large charities can have bigger overheads, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t consider supporting them. Giving to large organisations can often ensure that your money is being put to good use in targeted areas that have been well-researched as a result of the work that has gone on behind the scenes. That said, you may feel it important to research a charities overheads before you start giving to them.

On the other hand, when giving to a smaller charity or individual Christian worker, your gift may constitute a considerable percentage of their annual budget. It may feel that your money is making a bigger impact to the work that they do. You may also find to easier to interact with a smaller charity set-up and even have the chance to get involved yourself with voluntary work.

This leads us nicely onto...

6. Volunteer

Volunteering for a charity can be a great way to get to know a charity more and understand the day-to-day work that the charity puts in to accomplish its mission. If you don’t have time to regularly volunteer, why not dedicate some holiday time to volunteer either locally or abroad? Some charities even organise teams of volunteers to visit other countries; learn about life in disadvantaged communities and encourage you to provide practical help to particular causes.

help us fight the charity tax relief cap proposal

By Kevin Russell | 20 April 2012

The Government proposes, from April 2013, to restrict the tax relief for charitable gifts – whether under gift aid, payroll giving, or gifts of shares, and land and property. Whilst this will not impact on most donors, major and sacrificial giving will be impacted. Anyone who gives a gift aid gift or gifts in a year of over £40,000 may see their tax relief restricted, and may even find that they have to pay HMRC for the privilege.

 

If you do personally make large gifts to charity that could be affected, would you be prepared to help us resist this measure? We need evidence of the potential impact to take to HMRC and the Treasury. If you would be prepared to speak to us about your personal experience, send an e mail to [email protected] with a contact telephone number. Anonymity can be protected where requested.

image courtesy of www.giveitbackgeorge.org

charity campaign of the month: a Lent campaign round-up

By Alexandra Khan | 10 April 2012

Lent 2012

The Christian festival of Lent has had a recent reinvention. It’s no longer just the annual opportunity to forgo chocolate or caffeine. These days you can give up chocolate and give out free hugs, or plant trees, or cut your carbon footprint, or ask the big questions, or read a section of the Bible alongside hundreds of others online.

Lent has become a time for generosity and thoughtfulness. This month, we celebrate the charity campaigns that have helped thousands of people to reconnect with Lent in a meaningful way.

 

Christian Aid: Count Your Blessings

What it is:

This brilliant campaign from Christian Aid has encouraged thousands of people to help end poverty this Lent. Last year’s campaign raised over £300,000 for the charity, and this year they launched an android app to help people connect and give on-the-go.

Why we love it:

With daily suggestions such as ‘give 10p for every light in your home’ and ‘give 20p for every time you have accessed free healthcare this year’, the Count Your Blessings campaign uses simple stats to highlight exactly how blessed we are.  And we all need a reminder of that from time to time!

Tearfund: Carbon Fast

What it is:

Tearfund’s Carbon Fast campaign asks us to consider what effects our energy-intensive lifestyles have on God’s creation. Again taking a daily action approach, the Carbon Fast focuses on environmental tasks such as buying energy monitors, creating a compost-heap, and walking or cycling to work.  

Why we love it:

It offers a good amount of flexibility, and the daily actions are achievable. There’s also the option to simply do an ‘Action of the week’. A great campaign for the environmentally-conscious among us, and they’ve put together a nice promo video too.

BigBible: Big Read 2012

What it is:

This year’s Big Read focuses on the gospel of Mark, with material written by Profession Tom Wright. It is put together by BigBible – a project that promotes bible reading in a community setting, whether online or offline.

Why we love it:

It’s primarily an online-driven campaign, making use of Google+ Hangouts, online homegroups, blogging and twitter hashtags to keep up momentum, as well as downloadable resources. BigBible are traditionally great at making connections with other organisations and initiatives, and we love their ability to reach out and promote other campaigns as well as their own.  

Stewardship: 40acts

What it is:

40acts has returned for 2012, and this year we’re encouraging people to ‘do Lent generously’. With daily inspirational contributions from likes of Nicky Gumbel (Alpha course), Rob Parsons (Care for the Family), and Andy Frost (Share Jesus International), 40acts gives subscribers 40 nudges in a generous direction. So far 5000+ people have signed up to take part.

Why we love it:

Our 40acts challengers never fail to surprise us. Whether they set up daily blogs to chart their 40acts journey, or anonymously send Easter eggs into the office, or nearly get arrested for offering free hugs: all of them remind us of the transformational nature of generosity.

Consumer Detox: Lent 2012

What it is:

Mark Powley’s book, ‘Consumer Detox’ offers practical solutions to combating the consumerist culture we live in. The Lent campaign is designed for small groups and churches, and takes a week-by-week approach. There are also daily blogs and online talks.

Why we love it:

There’s a great emphasis on doing Lent alongside others with this campaign. That sense of accountability and honesty makes for an interesting journey, as the group travels together into the heart of the difficult questions: ‘How can we prevent our stuff from choking our faith?’, ‘Why do we find it so hard to set limits on our consumption?’, ‘If God is so generous, why does He ask us to surrender everything?’

So there we have it, a round-up of Lent 2012. What have your favourite Lent campaigns been this year? What would you like to see next year? Let us know in the comments.

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