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I have come full circle on the art of giving over the last few years. In my mind everything is very calculated, especially when it comes to the money that I have earned. In all that I do, I like to feel confident that I have received the most bang for my buck! Of course, having this mindset easily transfers to how I decided to help others in need.
I wanted to see IMPACT. Unless your organization could show me results, and a direct link to my dollar, I was not interested. Otherwise, how would I know that my hard earned money was being spent wisely?
One of the most difficult challenges for NPOs today is the ability to publish sound metrics that prove the value of their organization. If you are a school in Uganda, how many children are served, what percent of children move on to secondary education, how many meals and uniforms have been provided, what subjects are being taught, was there an exponential increase in the cognitive abilities of the children, is the faculty qualified (i.e., have valid degrees from accredited institutions of higher learning), and would my money be better spent going to an inner-city school in Montgomery, Alabama? If an organization is fighting to stay afloat, usually the more marketing accomplished and metrics produced the better chance it will have at survival.
More marketing and more metrics take more time and cost more money, taking away from the focus of the organization’s mission.
In our society, it is apparent we have become selfish consumers instead of selfless givers. Which makes me ask, when did consumption become a part of giving? And more importantly, when did the money that I choose to give become mine?
One of the most challenging things I have had to do, as a giver, is decouple my giving (i.e., time and/or money) from any expectations whatsoever. With that decoupling came a massive increase in faith. Faith that the money and/or time I give would be used appropriately regardless of the presence of the associated impact.
That being said, it is never wise to blindly give to any old organization. I do believe, in most cases, some form of calculation should exist when choosing where to invest valued resources and time.
2 Corinthians 9:7 states, Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
When you do give, which I encourage all of you to do in some form or fashion, give without consuming anything. We have to remember we are not paying for a product, service, or even a calculated result when we give. If you expect a product, service, phone call, letter etc. you could inadvertently be taking away from the true purpose of your donation.
This does not mean organizations, family members, and charities alike are free from providing results to their benefactors. On the contrary, hopefully the beneficiary will provide some results, as it will usually encourage more giving. However, in most cases, impact can take a long time to come to fruition and even compile / properly quantify, and for this reason alone it should never be “expected.”
It is your choice to give, and it will be solely your decision to stop giving. But I encourage you never to stop because your expectations were not met. Instead make the decision to give or stop giving based on faith. No matter what you decide to give to (e.g., family, a charity, the homeless, or an organization), give quietly and walk away cheerfully without an expectation to receive (consume) anything in return. This is not easy, and it will be a challenge. But it is the challenges that help us to grow.
Let’s remove the idea of
give & get, and progress to give & go.
picture used from http://firstdayofschool.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/homeless_man_2.jpg