Take a look at our six tips to consider when deciding which charitable cause to support.
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...
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.
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blogs by the Stewardship team and selected guest writers.