Year-End Giving Strategies (Part 2)

Jonathan JenkinsBy Jonathan Jenkins4 Minutes

Jonathan Jenkins: Do you have any guidelines that you would recommend for people seeking to give wisely? There are a lot of organizations out there that people can use to maximize their giving, but they also want to make sure it’s used effectively. What tips do you have for people to become more discerning in their giving?

Handre de Jongh: I think there’s always a few that we can immediately point to. I would say the very first guideline is pray about your giving and make sure that your motives are pure. In other words, don’t give in the hope of getting something in return or even getting some recognition. Make sure your motives are pure and pray about where to give. You know, people say, “Well, I can pray about it, but I don’t really know how to hear God’s voice.” In discerning giving, God’s voice will manifest by bringing opportunities your way. One of the ways that he answers this prayer is that he brings an opportunity to mind. Second, if you are married, you and your spouse need to be in agreement about where to give. So, pray first, don’t look for recognition or for a return, look for the opportunities that come, and then make sure you are in agreement with your spouse. Those all are very important.

Next, you need to determine what you generally care about. The important giving opportunities will normally come in the areas that you really care about. So, what problems are you looking to use your money to help solve in the world? This will help you to narrow down your options to the organizations that you should start researching. That’s the next point, research those organizations. Even if that organization happens to be your church that is giving to a specific cause, make sure that you research where that money is really going. You want to make sure it actually goes to solving a problem that you care about or where you feel that there’s a real need for you to give. So, research the organizations and try to determine their effectiveness. A question that you might ask is, do they really make a difference?

The second question that you might want to ask is are they credible and legitimate? Also, do they have donation protocols that are very open and transparent and have they shown integrity in the past? If you’re a Christian, make sure that that organization that you pick really represents Biblical values. I would also suggest supporting organizations that base their practices firmly in governance and accountability. Focus on those organizations that are wise with their funds and where you can measure their results through their reporting. Following up on results and spending is very important in giving. Sometimes you might give to an organization and 90% of what you give goes to pay their salaries while only 10% actually goes to where the need is. You want to make sure that when you give, the need that you are really wanting to address actually gets addressed. So, you want to look at the results. You can also take a deeper look at organizations through places like GuideStar, which is a really helpful website where you can check a ministry’s or organization’s reputability. Beyond that, you can contact the organization and see if you can ask questions about their needs and about where and how the funds will be used.