(Thanks to Cartoonstock.com for the cartoon)
Are you in the habit of giving money to charity? Maybe you don’t feel wealthy enough to give, or connected enough with any particular cause. Perhaps you get irritated by people calling you, asking you for money. Do you put change into the “red bucket” at Christmas? Do you give at church?
Giving is a very personal and, I believe, spiritual activity. It is amazing what a sense of joy and happiness comes with giving money away. I believe this is intrinsically tied to the fact that what we have isn’t really ours anyway. For this reason, people can become very sensitive, even defensive, when it comes to the topic of giving money away.
I have worked in fundraising for the past 6+ years and have had a variety of experiences in talking with people about giving charitably. This work has given me an appreciation for the work charities do, and for the difficult work it is to raise money. I feel like we do it well, and I know a lot of people/organizations who do not.
I think charitable giving is one of the things that makes America a great country– the fact that its citizens will take care one one another by giving away money (without having it taxed away from them). Be it education, health care, disaster relief, or caring for the poor, we take care of each other like no other country. I recently read an article where the author listed out the various charities and non-profits their family gave to.
I thought this would be an interesting exercise for me… not to make me feel bad or look good. Simply to put down on paper who we give to. I think going through this process will reveal some of our family values, and will let us as a family know if we are having an impact in areas we are passionate about. I also want to point to some non-profit organizations that are having a tremendous impact on the world, and organizations who do a great job at fundraising. So, here is the Elliott Family list of charitable gifts for 2009…
- John Brown University
- Fellowship Bible Church-Rogers (Saturday Night!)
- Compassion International
- International Justice Mission (IJM)
- various community projects (local library book drive, and turkey baskets at Thanksgiving as examples)
- various individual mission trips (family and friends who go on mission trips)
I want to reiterate… this is not an attempt to get attention, but rather to point to some fantastic organizations who are really changing their communities and world.
There are many more charities that I would like to give to. I see some missing from this list that I would like to add. I do want to be careful that we do not spread ourselves too thin. I want to maximize the impact we can have (however modest that is at this stage in our lives), but want to touch all the causes that mean a lot to our family.
Often times, saying something out loud or writing something down really brings them out as reality. Have you ever considered making a list of the charities you give to? Have you made a list of charities you would like to give to, but currently are not? What are they? How can you do a little extra to have a great impact? Side job? Sell some junk from your garage? Sell old magazines on ebay? What are some of your suggestions?