Once again I find that I am burdened with a load of guilt from a TV commercial. I am in tears with the wide-eyed, hopeful look on the child’s face and the narrator tells me that just a few dollars a week can feed this child and educate this child for a life time. I search my pocket and find more than a few dollars and through the tears I promise myself that I will feed and educate that little boy, again. Yet before the call is made, before the first check is written, before I have a chance to wipe the tears from my eyes; cynicism sets in. My mind goes through how much work it will be to get that check to that young boy, how much will the organization take of that dollar, how much REALLY will go to that wide-eyed, innocent? I put my checkbook away.
I am sure all of you have gone through similar feelings from pity to guilt, to promise, to cynicism, and to inaction. And I am not writing this to get you into more action and less cynicism. In fact in today’s world cynicism is an appropriate response. So with all the charities demanding your dollars let me dole out a dollop of wisdom to help you deal.
1] Giving should be out of JOY, not out of GUILT. Whenever you feel guilt-ed into action – be suspicious. I am not saying that legitimate charities don’t use guilt, but I KNOW illegitimate charities definitely use guilt as their primary weapon. So if you are being pelted with one guilt bomb after another: back off.
2] Pity is a spur that drives joy into action NOT a means of blackmail. It is human to feel pity for the dire straits of another human. It is godly to recognize how good you have it and repeat: “There, but for the grace of God, go I.” Out of that JOY, that thankfulness you desire to give. When that scene meant to bring you to pity lays on guilt, you know there is something wrong. It is really NOT your fault that children are starving around the world! So guilt is the wrong feeling. But out of thankfulness and joy it IS your job to work at helping those in that situation. Pity drives JOY into action!
3] Giving is based on RELATIONSHIP and not on RESOURCES. People give because they have a relationship with a person in that charity or an affinity of some kind. Families who have dealt with cancer give to cancer research. Families who have dealt with Alzheimer’s gives to Alzheimer’s research. You will give to a family member or friend who is in that charity or mission. When in doubt: fall back on your relationships.
4] When all else fails do your due diligence. EVERY charity should have it’s books open and available for you to make sure that you are not spending 99% of your charitable giving to administration and only 1% to those advertised. Research before you give!
I am always open to new charities because there is no better feeling than GIVING. It is the greatest, mind-altering, life-changing “drug” you will ever have on this side of eternity. Give it a try, in excess!