~ Latitia ~
for The Salvation Army bell ringers; Latitia has been doing this for several years and at the same location. When I asked if I could take a picture of the sign and pot, she said, "I don't care to have my picture taken too" which means, "I don't mind if you take my picture". That was one of the hardest things Dave and I had to get used to...where we live people will say, "I don't care to..." and it means, "go ahead". Where we used to live it meant, "please don't...". Dave used to say, "Even though we all speak English, it's a wonder we communicate at all!" He was right, but I digress.
Charitable giving goes on all year 'round but at Christmas the bell ringers are a visual reminder of those less fortunate. I write yearly and monthly budgets (whew, now there was a learning curve upon Dave's death!) and I have various places I give money. If someone calls, writes or asks me for money and they aren't on my list, I respond, "Please send your request in writing." You'd be surprised at how few people follow through which makes me completely happy. If I'd wanted them to have my money, they'd already be on my list...know what I mean?
In honor of the Buddy Poppy program, I do buy poppies, always, and give to Salvation Army bell ringers and, for those seasonal charities, I keep a supply of one dollar bills handy.
One day this past summer, when I was out and about, I counted seven or eight times someone had their hand out...in Sam's Club it was "want to donate to xxxx?"; in WalMart it was, "want to donate to xxxxx?" and in another store it was, "want to round up and give to xxxxx?" It went on and on and on all day long!
For several reasons, my response is always, "No, thank you for asking" and some of my reasons include:
~Why should I give money and the corporation/company receive the tax benefit?
~Their request isn't in my budget.
~Some of the requests are to organizations I cannot, in good faith, give money.
Do you find it difficult to know where to give? Or even, why you should give? I do.
I don't give to organizations that pay their directors huge salaries plus perks, benefits and expenses. My conscience won't allow it; some of those organizations are Red Cross, UNICEF, United Way, Goodwill and March of Dimes. I'm not saying you shouldn't; I'm saying I cannot.
Some of the places I give include various Biblical charities for the express purpose of taking the Gospel to the world. As well, this month I begin sponsorship of a child through Compassion International and I give to my church. Throughout the year, my hands are kept busy knitting and quilting to help keep folks warm. I mention these things not because I deserve an attagirl (Please God, be gracious and merciful and don't give me what I deserve.) but to say we each need give where our hearts tell us...convict us even...of a need. To be sure, that will be different for each of us.
Before I give money to anyone, I check them out. There are several things that I look at when deciding where my hard earned money will go. One is Director's salaries, the other is the proportion of the money received and where it goes. Charity Navigators is a good place to see a chart of transparency and accountability for each non-profit.
The Salvation Army Director receives less than $100K a year plus an allowance for housing and a vehicle. The local folks receive about $35K a year plus housing and vehicle allowance. The housing is on site and the vehicle was a used, older model truck. All in all, nothing too grand by any stretch. For more Salvation Army salaries, click here and, yes, I do know that in 2003 Mrs. Joan Kroc, wife of McDonald's founder, gave the Salvation Army $1billion only to be used to build planning and community centers in low income areas...not salaries, perks, benefits. God bless her!
Glass Door is another place to review non-profits and USA Prepares says Marsha J. Evans, Red Cross Director, salary was $951,957.00 plus expenses which, I think, is a lot. Ditto for Brian Gallagher, United Way Director, who receives $813,338. Charity Watch gives their "hot list" of the top 25 executives and their salaries; click here to be shocked.
ECFA is Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, and focuses on Christian ministries. The ECFA has Seven Standards of Responsible Stewardship and I trust them more than the others I've mentioned. Again, each of us are different and we must trust, and give, where God nudges us. You are praying about this...right?
In this Christmas season...indeed all seasons...to celebrate Christ and His birth, life, death and resurrection, I tithe and then give as I am able. God is able to take whatever amount I give, increase it and bless me as His money is used to bless others.
I do my job, God does His job and it's all good.
Linked to Soli Deo Gloria.
Blessings ~ Salvation Army ~ Mrs. Kroc ~ ECFA ~ stewardship ~ Latitia ~