During the holidays, our mailbox seems to be filled to the brim each day with catalogs, deliveries and letters from nonprofits. There are so many great causes out there to support, but it can sometimes feel daunting to know which one to give to.
As Christians, we are called to be good stewards of what God has entrusted us with. We want to make sure the charities we are giving to use the donations effectively to help others and to share the Gospel. We want to give wisely and not just compassionately.
When I am considering nonprofits to donate towards, there are several factors I look at:
Long-term credibility— When I am going to donate to any organization, I look for indicators of transparency and accountability—such as ECFA member status, a high rating by Charity Navigator and other awards. Also, nonprofits like Bright Hope, who are firmly established and have been around a long time, can have strong partnerships and knowledge from their years of experience. Ultimately, you want to give towards an organization you can trust.
Holistic approach— While secular and faith-based organizations alike can all help others and provide relief, nothing brings sustainable change like the Hope of Jesus Christ. Individuals can certainly benefit from receiving short-term assistance, hearing the Gospel or completing training, but it's through the combination of meeting immediate and long-term needs, as well as spiritual needs, that organizations like Bright Hope are able to facilitate lasting transformation and help lift individuals out of poverty for good.
Partnerships with local churches— Helping others around the world means working with different languages, contexts and even customs. Organizations who work with local staff and volunteers are better equipped to understand the unique needs within a community. Bright Hope, for example, partners with local churches. These churches provide an already-existing infrastructure within rural areas and slum communities, and they have an established reputation, reach and influence. Through Bright Hope's years of experience, partner churches have exhibited courage in difficult contexts, generosity in times of crisis, and a willingness to help all people—regardless of religion.
In this season of giving, I encourage you to do some research about the organizations you are considering giving towards. Then, give generously and with confidence, knowing the gifts you are sharing will make a lasting impact.