I deal in hope : Carolyn R Scheidies

Blog The Problem with Charity Pomotions

During most of our married life, every dollar had to stretch a long way. That meant while we believed in tithing, and giving, we didn’t have much more than a tithe to give and sometimes even that was a hardship. Since we didn’t have hundreds or thousands to donate, it bothered me that once we started donating, we started getting, not only our receipts, but more.

Sometimes we got slick, full-color magazines we didn’t want and didn’t read. Other times we were inundated with appeals for other ministries under the same umbrella. 

What bothered me most was that all this mail costs money and I sometimes asked myself, how much of our meager donation actually went to the endeavor or missionary we supported? We still get much too much in the way of promotion from charities in the mail, sometimes, from charities seeking to add us to their list of donors. At least I can toss them into the wastebasket. 

The Internet has changed everything. I like being able to donate online, Saves a stamp and writing out a check. But doing so means the organization has my email. Besides sending a receipt, which is important for tax purposes, charities, along with other businesses, recognized the allure in sending promotion to email addresses.

Today,  my email is overwhelmed by useless promotion campaigns. It is cost effective for the organization, but I have to wonder, if like me, are many tired of the constant attempts to guilt us into larger donations?

Asking for less promotion doesn’t seem to fall on listening ears. I am grateful for those organizations that are more judicious in how much promotion they send out. Some of the policies of many charity organizations are questionable. If I support a missionary family, don’t try to get me to support others or other “needs” of the organization. 

“Donations” means we give money to help or because we feel God leading us to support a person or cause. Recently, one organization sent a letter saying donations have not kept up with the cost of living and would we consider increasing our giving.

I really didn’t mind a reminder or even two, but the organization seems stuck in pointing out how much more we could give and this was after we’d increased our giving. This approach will eventually backfire. 

For all my frustration with a flawed system, we do have our own set of guidelines. We do not give over the phone. I carefully check out charities to which we donate. How much actually goes to the cause or ministry? I do not let emotional appeals overrule making choices as to whom, when and how often and how much to donate. We also seek to support individuals whom we know and trust, though, of course, this isn’t possible much of the time. 

God calls on us to give generously. We also need to do so within our means. Check your budget, look for a need and give–even if it means ignoring irritating calls for further donations.

(C) 2020 Carolyn R Scheidies
Published in Kearney Hub 7/20/2020
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