Give Wisely To Charity

Give Wisely To Charity December 1, 2011

More money is given to charity in December than any other month of the year.

It’s not that people aren’t generous the rest of the year, but something about the Christmas season lowers our defenses and opens our wallets. For some charities, December is a make-or-break month – if they don’t receive a significant number of donations, they may have to close their doors. It’s in their best interest to get you donating early and often.

For the next 30 days your mailbox, email and phone will be barraged with charities asking for money. They’ve been taught how to answer your questions, lower your defenses and open your wallet. Their arsenal includes pictures of starving children, heart breaking videos and friendly salesmen, I mean, receptionists.

It gets overwhelming at times. Some of us end up giving away more money than we should. Others stop giving altogether, hoping their stinginess will save them from the onslaught.

As Christians, we’re called to give. When we do, we should give abundantly without feeling out of control or overwhelmed. To do that, you need a little wisdom.

Start With Your Heart

Your donations should go to organizations you agree with. I love Living Water International. Just the thought of funding water wells throughout the world gets me excited. I want to live in a world where everyone has clean drinking water. So I give to them regularly.

You may not care about that cause. That’s okay – there are hundreds of thousands of organizations doing good throughout the world. God has given you a heart to help someone. Find a charity that matches the heart God gave you.

Research Matters

When giving to a charity, do your research. Take the time to look at their website, learn how they use donations and do a Google search for any scams associated with the charity. We’ll talk about each of these briefly:

  • Review The Website – Make sure to look at the charity’s website. Read their mission statement, their news releases and anything else that tells you what the charity is doing. Make sure they’re actually doing something that you agree with. You may be surprised with how many side-projects some charities have. If you’re not onboard, don’t give them your money.
  • How They Use Donations – Every charity has expenses. You can’t expect 100% of your donation to go to the cause. Find out how much of your donation is going to the cause and how much is going towards expenses. You want the causes to be getting as much money as possible. If you are giving a sizable donation ($10,000 or more) you should ask for the financial information of the charity. Any charity that won’t tell you how donations are used shouldn’t get your donation.
  • Search For Scams – Scams are more common every year. It’s easy to build a site, add a donate button and buy a new house through the misguided kindness of strangers. When researching a charity, do a Google search for “Charity Name Scam”. Just because there are a few hits, doesn’t mean it’s a scam, but if there are pages and pages of results you should stay away from the “charity”.

Set Limits

After you’ve found a few charities that meet with your heart and you’ve done your research to make sure everything is on the level, the last thing you need to do is set giving limits.

Make sure you can still afford your expenses: rent, utilities, food, etc. If you run out of money before the month ends you aren’t helping anyone.

On the other hand, make sure you give enough money. Don’t be stingy. It’s okay to hurt a little bit. Jesus asks us to be sacrificial with our giving and if you’ve found a trustworthy charity that you agree with, don’t be afraid to sacrifice a few nights out to help them.

Help After Christmas

Now that you’ve done your homework and started giving, don’t stop! Keep updated on the charity and commit to giving them money throughout the year. You don’t have to give every month, but set aside enough money to donate once a quarter or more. This not only helps the charity, but is the most fun you can have with money!

You will never regret the lives you’ve changed through charitable donations.

What is your favorite charity?

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