Friday, November 19, 2010

So, I have been thinking....

Breast Cancer, Movember, soon we will hear the bells of the Salvation Army ringing for Christmas. There are a million ways to give to charity and a million charities to give to. We at Soul have made a push to join Habitat for Humanity to help make a difference in our community and I must admit that I am a bit disappointed in that I actually believed that we would have more than $5000 plus raised by this point. Yes, I said it! Disappointed, because I simply believe that our community has great connections to tap into. So much so, that I got to thinking about who does the giving?

It is said that 85 % of adult Canadians give to charity. Only 38 per cent of adult Canadians sent money to religious organizations, while 57 per cent made donations to health groups and 43 per cent donated to social services organizations. What distinguishes those who give from those who don't? We assume the rich give more than the middle class, the middle class more than the poor. I've heard ‘liberals’ care more about the less fortunate, so we assume they give more than ‘conservatives’ do.

"20/20" did a story with The Salvation Army, who set up buckets at the busiest locations in two different cities: one at Macy's in San Francisco and the other at Wal-Mart in Sioux Falls. Which bucket collected more money?

The answer is obvious! The Wal-mart Bucket! Arthur Brooks, the author of "Who Really Cares," says that "when you look at the data, it turns out the “conservatives’ give about 30 percent more." He adds, "And incidentally, ‘conservative’-headed families make slightly less money." People at the lower end of the income scale give almost 30 percent more of their income than those in the upper class. Religious people are more likely to give to charity, and when they give, they give more money: four times as much. Brooks also says that giving goes beyond their own religious organization: "Actually, the truth is that they're giving to more than their churches," he says. "The religious Americans are more likely to give to every kind of cause and charity, including explicitly non-religious charities." And almost all of the people who gave to our bell ringers in San Francisco and Sioux Falls said they were religious or spiritual.

So, this got me thinking…are people in Winnipeg “liberals” who make too much?


Jordan said...

Wrong, we are not "liberals who make too much."
I don't believe that study can be applied everywhere.

It is simple.

We don't give because we don't care.

Clinton Kroeker said...

We don't give because we don't actually believe Jesus when he says it will give us greater joy to give than to get.

We are suffocating under the weight of our possessions, but we stubbornly hold them to be more life-giving than radical generosity.

Our reward will no doubt be small in heaven unless God mercifully shakes us up, including me. What will I abandon in order to follow Jesus?

kenny said...

As I work for a Ministry that relies on people's giving for our operating budget, our staff salaries and our ability to do what God has called us to do...I have always wanted to do a RANT! Thanks.

Possessions have weighed us down, but also the absence of the understanding of what giving really means...and our call to give.

I was thinking about this after your comment at Soul about helping pay off the mortgage of this habitat home.
I think we have this attitude that it's their house and they need to pay it off, or what if they don't manage their money properly...we begin to put questions and expectations on someone when we think of giving.
How do we freely give with no expectations whatsoever in the person we are giving to?

What does it mean to sell what we have and give to the poor?

Who are the poor?

My family has been the recipient of gracious giving, and i am not just talking financial giving...but that has been huge for us. It has continued to give us the understanding of what we can do without to give to others with joyfulness.

I recently heard a story from a friend in Texas who's family was in ministry full time for years. Most people in ministry do not make a lot of money and this family didn't. Often times debt is occured as they try to make things work, like owning a house, car, etc. This family in their term of ministry was given...yes...given 8 vehicles and the last one was a brand new Suburban. I wonder why some communities get it?

I wonder about Soul...and wonder if we all lumped our debt (including mortgages)into much would that be...and how quick could we get rid of it, together as a family? Would this bring us to new place in extravagant giving and a new mind set that what I have does not belong to me but for a greater good and purpose in the body of Christ.

Just a few lay on the table of discussion.

novice said...

I think sometimes we don't give because there are just too many things clamouring for our attention.

We're bombarded for demands for money all the time. I think sometimes people just shut down and tune out the noise.

Bonnie said...

Hi! Devil's advocate here...

While I do agree with everything said thus far, I'd like to through some other ideas out there.

According to the most recent survey by StatsCan (2007, donations increased directly with income and education.

They also noted that, "...the average amount donated increases with the number of prosocial behaviours that people perform." (

That tells me that the more we are made aware of and the more we get involved the more we will give; both financially and of our precious time. If we turn a blind eye or choose to stay disconnected from our community (neighbourhood, church, world...) they we won't feel any compulsion to donate. Makes sense. How can you care about something you never think of? How can you think of something if you aren't even aware?

Just hearing someone say that there is a problem is not the same as actually seeing it first hand. I don't just mean the shocking videos starting Alan Thicke, if anything I find those revolting and exploitative. Go visit an orphanage in a poor country or even just go down to your local soup kitchen or shelter. Meet the people. See that they are just like you but didn't have quite the same chances or maybe didn't make the best choices. They are still the people that God loves. We have been commanded to love them, too.

Not that I am a saint. I choose to tune out. I am selfish and tend to be more concerned about my own comfort than anyone's else's. We all need reminders.

Perhaps that wasn't as contrary as I thought it might end up being. :P

On a side note, Gerry, I've really missed your blogs. They haven't been as frequent or as engaging as they used to be. I miss these community discussions. I hope this is the beginning of more to come!

~ Bonnie

She... said...

From personal experience, I am moved to give when I feel passionate about a cause and I ask others to give when I take ownership of the cause.

Presuming the average donation to the cause is $15 - making for about 330 donors.

I understand your frustration - and would also like to see this fund grow and grow quickly.

Any ideas for potential solutions? Is there a group of people who have taken ownership of this cause? Maybe a think-tank to try to solve? Maybe have the recipients give a talk to the community to talk about how their lives have changed? Maybe previous recipients talkign about how their lives have changed? Maybe a PR person from Habitat giving a talk about the potential for making a difference?

It seems like this awesome initiative just hasn't found it's legs yet. A little problem-solving, and it will truly become a sound example of how Soul can help make a difference.

liteshow said...

Personally, I donate to a few familiar Christian humanitarian organizations without skipping a beat, but would hesitate or hold back with others. So maybe the potential donors just need to be aware what Habitat for Humanity does, and how the donations will help someone else there?

My $0.02