As part of our name change from Servant Christian Community Foundation to National Christian Foundation Heartland, we’ve moved the blog to a new location. To read the latest posts and catch news from the generosity movement, visit:
We’ve all seen the Red Campaign to raise awareness and dollars for the fight against AIDS in Africa by giving a small portion of the profits of from sales of certain products (coffee, yogurt, t-shirts) to charity. (An example is below). But have you ever wondered if all that buying of cause-related products hurts donations to charities? The answer is yes, according to a study from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business.
“If two consumers have equal preference for a product, which is offered at the same price to both, but one of them buys this product as a cause-marketing product, her charitable giving will be lower than the other’s,” Ms. Krishna writes.
It was a reminder to me to see my purchase of Newmans’ Own products (the profits of which are donated to charity) as simply another purchase, rather than as a charitable gift. It’s also prompting me to ask myself what are the unintended consequences of other innovative fundraising initiatives?
A thankless person cannot be a generous giver. Pastors and nonprofit leaders have been wringing their hands that Evangelical Christians typically give only 2.5% of their income. Why? In part, because we do not believe that God loves us deeply, provides for our every need, and has given us an amazing gift of freedom from sin and a right relationship with Him.
Kids are honest; they have not learned the adult behavior of politely disguising unpleasant emotions. My three-year-old recently received a dollar bill in the mail from Grandma. He almost immediately cast it aside and only begrudgingly called Grandma to say thanks. He literally didn’t know the value of $1 because we hadn’t taught him that those dollars have buying power. (We’re now working on that).
Contrast that reaction with the scene when I brought home a box of chocolate for his valentine’s present. He shook with joy and couldn’t wait to offer one to me and one to his dad because he was so excited about his gift.
I have to ask myself: what does my giving—of time, talent, and treasure—say about how thankful I am to God? You?
Giving to many charities has decreased while the IRS reports that the number of charities continues to rise. Another way to say that: more charities are competing for fewer dollars. In this environment, it’s the little things that can make you stand out.
I recently received a hand written thank you note from a large ministry that my husband and I have supported with small gifts over the years. My husband actually called me at work to tell me about the note because he was so impressed. We have always loved the work of this ministry but had begun to question whether God was leading us to support them. This note was the prompting we needed to stay plugged into their work.
And it’s not just me. The Wall Street Journal recently published an article about the impact of the decline in our ability to write well. Read it here. I welcome your feedback on whether it’s worthwhile to take the time to send a handwritten note. Are my husband and I wrong for thinking more highly of the ministry that took the time to write us personally?
My eyes were weary. It was an early morning flight, and I was heading down the freeway on the way to the airport. Then it happened. I crested a hill, and there spread before me was a beautiful sunrise.
It was one of those sunrises where the colors of purple and orange are muffled by thousand puffy clouds along the horizon. All I could do was marvel, and say “Thank you Lord for allowing me to see.” My busy world was interrupted by seeing—really seeing.
Funny what happens when you begin to really see. Even at the airport, I noticed the little boy with the curious eyes still clinging to his father’s hand. The cashier was all business, but the guy across from me was caught up in his iphone. I could smile at them all and give them a word of greeting.
Like the sunrise, each of them was part of God’s creation. They were given to me for this day. People not in my way, but people that God was putting in my path to be reminders of Him. But likewise, I realized that God was giving me to them—to be reminder of Him.
Thanks, Lord, for reminding me of your kind and giving nature. Forgive me for how often I forget that you are daily giving. Don’t let me allow you to be The Forgotten Giver.
William F. High is the President/General Counsel of the Servant Christian Community Foundation—www.servantchristian.com. Servant’s mission is to inspire, teach and facilitate revolutionary biblical generosity. He may be reached at email@example.com.
Being nine months pregnant, I have a lot of time to think – mostly in the middle of the night while the rest of my family sleeps. At 2:00am last night, I was beginning to feel sorry for myself when I remembered some advice I heard at the Global Leadership Summit (hosted by Willow Creek; for more summaries, try this site). Jim Collins, secular business guru and author of How the Mighty Fall, told the crowd that one mark of a good leader is counting the blessings. Literally, count them. He said seeing the number of good things that happen to us through little to no effort of our own creates humility. Counting our blessings puts us in a good place with our Maker, the source of all those good things. Thankfulness is also the beginning of generosity.
So, I encourage you to make your list of blessings. I’ll share my first few:
1. I’m thankful I work for a company that invests in my development through tools like the Summit.
2. I’m thankful I have access to nutrition and health care for my boys.
3. I’m thankful for the aching joints, sleepless nights, and headaches that accompany pregnancy.
4. I’m thankful for seeing the activity of God in all the ministries who have made it to the second round of review for the Passion Awards.
5. I’m thankful for accountability, especially when it comes with a healthy dose of love and mercy.
We’ve all been hearing the unemployment numbers hovering around 10% for months. Sadly, I think I’ve become numb to what this means, but the issue hit me when I came across a website that illustrates the growth in unemployment since 2007.
My first reaction was to thank God for His provision. Then I began to think of those in our community who have been touched by unemployment. The Servant staff meets every Monday to pray for our work and our community. If you find yourself touched by unemployment (or underemployment) and would like prayer, please feel free to send us an email asking us to pray for you and your family (firstname.lastname@example.org).