I have been thinking about giving lately. Here are a few thoughts on why we give – not written from the perspective of the recipient church or organization, but as a donor.
What do we, as donors, want from the ministries to which we give?
- Information: We want to be kept informed about the progress of the recipient’s ministry. The apostle Paul kept people informed about his work.
- Confidence: We want to be aware of how the ministry is being managed or governed and have confidence that it is being done with integrity, efficiency, and effectiveness.
- Influence: We want to be asked about major decisions and plans. This is really true if we are a major investor in the ministry.
- Appreciation: We need to be thanked. Have you ever considered that God wants to be thanked? It is a form or worship. We are similar since we are made in His image. We want to be thanked for giving
- Time: We want the ministry to give us the necessary time to meet our “donor needs.” This might mean a visit, phone call, or other expression of time. Time is a limited resource and we know that, but we also see time as a way of giving back to us.
- Connection: Many of us give because we want to be a part of what the ministry is doing. This is challenging especially for ministries whose work is another physical location. Don’t tell me to love on the people, help me to do it. How can you connect me to the work?
- Obedience: We give in order to be obedient. We are looking for ways to give that help us to fulfill our obligation to be generous. We know that we are to sacrifice financially for the Kingdom. Help us to be obedient.
- Calling: We want to give in line with how God has called us. If we have been given a particular burden for the poor, for example, we have a need to give toward that calling.
- Accomplishment: Imagine giving to a ministry that never accomplished its goals. We would stop giving. We donors like to see ministries succeed. We are reasonable – we know that “accomplishment” in ministry can sometimes be a hard thing. Yet, we want to give toward ministries that are going places.
- Inspiration: We want to be motivated to give more, go deeper, and sacrifice. We love ministries that inspire us to ever-greater levels of commitment to Christ. Tell us how God is working, so we can Praise Him.
Please note what is NOT on this list:
- For tax advantages.
- To be seen as great in the eyes of other people.
- To be emotionally fulfilled – to give in response to an emotional appeal.
- To control the ministry or use funding to manipulate.
I would be curious if you have other thoughts on giving. What is missing from my list?