But both are still important.
Several years ago I read a book about a man who was given the task of overseeing an $11,000,000,000 fund for philanthropy. That's a dream job! Who wouldn't love to give away billions of dollars to different organizations? How would you spend that kind of money? Would you give clean water to the masses? Maybe open a free hospital? Build schools?
We would all love to be able to give away serious money. I've given so many $25 donations where I would have loved to fund the whole project. Have you had moments like that? Wishing you could cover a mission trip for someone or write a check to take care of that local radio fundraiser? No matter how large your budget is for giving most of us still have a budget. There's only so much we can give and still pay our bills. And for most of us it's not as much as we'd like.
Giving is important. Why? Not because congregations "just want your money" but because giving is vital for the Kingdom of Heaven to spread. Supporting ministries and organizations that are doing things we believe in is essential to share the truth of Scripture. Still, finances are limited formost of us so I wanted to share some more creative ways to give.
1. Give what you can. Can you come up with $5 a week or $10 a month to give away? If so, do it! For me, it's fun to research and learn up about different organizations to support. Learn about a certain issue every month or so with your family and then together choose where your money will go.
2. Pray. We may not be able to meet every need we encounter but we do know the one who can! When you hear of a need take a few seconds to ask for YHWH's provision. Put a few organizations on your prayer list and make it a habit to ask YHWH to meet their needs, to bless the work that they're doing, and to give the staff wisdom.
3. Volunteer. Most non-profits live or die on their volunteers. There are so many ways to get involved, even if you only have a few hours here or there to spare. Check with your congregation or a nearby nonprofit to see how you can help. Often they could use a hand with everything from office tasks to promotions to manual labor to specific skills like photography or web design to event setup and clean up. Volunteering is also a great way to learn about an issue and to meet new people.
4. Like and share updates. Interacting with your favorite organizations on social media means free advertising for them. Hit the like button the next time you see an update on Facebook and that means more of your friends will see it to. Retweet a blurb from an organization to share with your Twitter followers. Tag your favorite for-good company or non profit in your Instagrams when applicable.
5. Make a purchase from a for-good company. The next time you need to buy something do some research to see if you can find what you need from a business that is working to change the world. If you need a gift for a friend look for a scarf that sends children to school; if your workplace needs more coffee, suggest buying fair trade; if you need a new shirt considering buying one from your favorite ministry or NPO.
6. Donate items you don't need. Coats and clothing can be given to a homeless shelter, furniture and household items can go to an organization that helps with immigrants resettling in your area (check with a college to find one), food pantries will accept non perishable foods as well as kitchen items, in most cases. Many thrift shops have a philanthropic mission, look for one in your area--and do what shopping you can there.
7. Sign your grocery store card up for community rewards. This is where a percentage of what you spend on groceries is donated to the charity of your choice! Kroger does this and so does a local store in my area. Head to their website to link your card with your favorite charity.
8. Write a letter to a person imprisoned for their faith. Voice of the Martyrs has a program where they help you write letters to prisoners to encourage them in their faith. It takes about five minutes to complete online and print. You'll need to mail it which typically costs $1 or $2.
9. Host a party with a purpose. Give meaning to your next get together by sharing about your favorite non-profit, encouraging people to sign up for their newsletter, and by asking everyone to donate a few dollars. Or ask friends over to cut shoes for Sole Hope or to stuff action packs for Voice of the Martyrs.
10. Lobby your congressmen and women. Most of us would donate money to an organization that fights human trafficking but sadly many of us wouldn't take five minutes to contact our senators and representatives to ask them to support anti-trafficking legislation. It is simple to ask your congressmen to support the same issues that you do. They can be contacted via their website or by calling their office to leave a message.
11. Use GoodSearch or AmazonSmile. GoodSearch is a search engine that donates one penny for every search you make! While a penny is not a lot, it does add up. In less than two years my searches have generated over $150 for organizations of my choice. Also did you know about AmazonSmile? It's just like the Kroger community rewards, where they will donate a percentage of what you spend to a charity you select. You can also use GoodShop which is compatible with other stores besides Amazon.
12. Participate. This could be as simple as sending an email saying, "Thanks for what you do, I believe in you," or sharing about a fundraiser online. Go to events and awareness nights hosted by non profits (they are often free), search out ways to get involved and do what you can.
Do you have a favorite creative way to give? Please let me know below!