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I am Sandra - faithful steward. listener. shepherd. dream believer. hard worker. collects brass bells, boots. Jesus follower. contented. star gazer. homemaker. farmer. prayer warrior. country woman. reader. traveler. writer. homebody. living life large.

Monday, December 03, 2012

Tis The Season...

~ 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 ~

22 comments:

  1. You're a big hearted woman, Sandra. Can-assist will be top of my list from now on. They provide funds and assistance to rural people needing care for cancer. We have to travel long distances to get medical treatment. Last time Petal went through this he declined and told them to help someone who needed it more than we did. This time they have stepped in and offered assstance again. They never ask for anything back and are always there. Maa

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  2. I agree. You have a large and warm heart! My lady can't give money this year so she has been making some mittens and hats with yarn she's had. There aren't a lot (she should start sooner) but some of the churches know people who need things, or there is a little shop in town for folks in need.

    Giving gives a good feeling. :)

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  3. I often find myself fighting guilt for not giving to everyone. But you are right - we cannot be all things to all people. I love Compassion and we sponsor a child through World Vision.

    So nice to have met you here. I love the view out your window!

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  4. All year round I tell charity solicitors to send me something in the mail and take my name off their call list, so that I can consider their charity in December, when I make all my donation decisions at once. As you say, some I never hear from again, which is fine!
    Years ago I came up with the idea of donating a fixed percentage of my total income annually; having that plan in place keeps me honest, you might say. This year will be quite a bit thinner than last, as my job (and income) ended abruptly in July. Next year I may be donating more time instead of money, and honestly I think my time is more valuable than any amount of money I could donate :)

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  5. Sandra, I forgot to thank you for adding my Dad to your prayer list...thank you from the bottom of my heart, and every corner, too!

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  6. Howdy from Kansas!
    Very eye opening post about salaries. Makes me stop to think a bit more about it all.

    God bless and may you have a pleasant Christmas Season,
    d

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  7. Hello - thanks for your comment! This post is very thought-provoking. I tend to give to Christian charities but there are fewer of them now we live in France, so I've had to learn about others. We've discovered a local group who is giving out filled back-packs to homeless people this Christmas - you donate a back pack full of warm and practical things, plus a few Christmas goodies. No money changes hands, but local people in need are helped. We're going for that one, this year. I'll be posting about it later in Advent!

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  8. The bell ringers get some dollars, Ellie's Elephants, a dear friends granddaughter . . . for JDRF . . . But my favourite . . . giving is knowing someone who needs and isn't asking.
    Met someone yesterday . . .

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  9. Very special post. Thanks for sharing. We all need this timely reminder.

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  10. Wonderful and timely post, Sandra. As usual you have much to teach me. I never want to say no to anyone, which I know is crazy but I've never given enough thought to such things as salaries and percentages that go to the actual needy. I'm going to take your advice on board and check out the charities. There must be similar guides in Australia. Thank you. Have a peaceful and blessed Christmas. Carol x

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  11. Great post, Sandra, very informative in an important way. I was discouraged to learn of the distribution of Red Cross funds, and I often wonder if what I donate is going to those it was intended for. I prefer to donate my time directly to a cause, and items or money directly to those in need, instead of an organization.

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  12. I agree whole heartily, so many will ask f=but only for a quick cash drop in their cup!. Hooray for the bell ringers, I thank God for them!

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  13. Most interesting! Yes I would see why you'd be confused with the bell ringer conversation..I would be too. Wisdom in giving is most important. I love to give to our Fred Hollow's foundation for $20 sight can be returned to someone who can no longer see..what an economical & worthwhile miracle & a great legacy left by a big hearted gentle man. Blessings to you x0x0x

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  14. I believe giving to charity either financially or with your time is an important part of life. None of us can give to all charities so I never hesitate to say no when approached. I am comfortable with what I give and the organizations I give to.

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  15. Great information and I'll have to check out the sites you mentioned.

    Thank you!

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  16. Wonderful post.

    I haven't really heard people saying "I don't care to" here in that way. Must be unique to your side of Virginia?

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  17. I agree with your statements and observations completely, and I appreciate your saying them!

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  18. what an informative and thought provoking post ( coming over from SDG)

    Your statement: "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." is great advice.

    I saw a request the other day, investigated it and something in my spirit just said avoid them. Interesting enough - this search lead to a very open prayer time with God about my giving and some clarity in discerning some things. So when you take your time and really decide where and what to give to, God may open all sorts of doors.

    Enjoyed your post!

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  19. Sandra-- I think there are lots of us who feel the same as you in regards to charitable giving-- there is always a special place in my heart for the " bell ringers" during the holiday season. Like you-- I think ahead and make sure I have some appropriate bills when we are out and about. It's the season of giving-- but I'm careful about where I give.

    Xo
    Vicki

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  20. Thanks so much for the information on the charities and the places to check on others. I, too, have felt some guilt before from all the requests. Thanks to intentional budgeting, my hubbie and I choose what and where to spend, and that's it.

    Coming to a place of doing budgets can be a real shock, but I find real peace and hope as a much better steward of my money (thank you, Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University!).

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  21. I like the website suggestions. I'll check 'em out. I am also cautious about who I donate to. For mostly moral reasons (none of them believe in murdering unborn or other communist issues), I only give to the Salvation Army, Berean Bible Society (www.bereanbiblesociety.org) and the Gideons. They have proven themselves to me to be only concerned with people's salvation thru Jesus Christ AND are financially responsible with their donations received.
    God bless! ~:)

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  22. Great advice. As stewards of GOD's money, we do indeed need to be sure our donations are being used for what is pleasing to Him.

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