Divorcing charity – wow, that sounds unpleasant and painful. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal shared a personal story of such a struggle. In the article, When to Divorce Charity, the author notes her deep affection for a cause and a heartfelt commitment to volunteering. She goes on to share her struggle with feeling disconnected with a charity that she volunteers and raises funds for. She questions whether the charity would care about her concerns. At one point she questions if her giving even matters.
The article offers some questions to consider for those struggling with idea of discarding a favorite charity.
- Is the group appropriately appreciative and do they keep me informed? Even small gifts are entitled to a proper thank you. Sending form letters or misspelling names of a large donor can be costly as well – even if in the long run. Statistically, a modest giver is much more likely to leave a gift to charity when they die – often an amount 20 times their annual donation.
- Is the group suffering from “mission creep,” drifting away from what originally attracted you? Givers are often passionate about a cause, not necessarily just an organization. Givers want to be a part of organizations that are having impact in the cause.
- Is the organization receptive to donors’ and volunteers’ concerns? Again, givers want to be a part of something. Givers want to know that what they are doing – whether giving treasure, talent or time – is making a difference and they want to be a valid voice in the cause.
I appreciate the author’s candidness in this article. It reflects some of my heart as a giver but also as someone who is passionate about serving ministries it is a great reminder that giving is about the heart and growth of the giver. As ministries we must ask ourselves: Do givers to our ministry feel connected and a part of the cause? And, how prepared are we to minister to the hearts of givers?