Sometimes it seems like the needs are so great. So many ministries and charitable organizations and causes we wish we could support. But our financial resources are limited. We just can’t give to every one we’d love to help. Or can we?
Here are five ways you can make a difference today – five ways you can give, even when you can’t give money.
1. Pray, pray, pray. Pray for the ministry and the people it serves. Pray for the staff and volunteers and their families. Ask God to provide for their financial needs, for their health and safety. Ask Him to give them inspiration and creativity as they problem-solve, effectiveness in their outreach, courage and strength, wisdom and direction.
2. Volunteer your time and / or skills. There are organizations that need volunteers right now to help build houses, serve in soup kitchens, stock shelves at the food pantry, run errands or deliver meals for the elderly, visit prisons, assist single moms with car maintenance. You can join an organization that helps lower income families learn how to create a budget or fill out tax forms. Teach children or adults to read. Knit hats and scarves for the homeless or for children overseas. Charities need people to man their information booths at churches and conferences, fold newsletters, stuff envelopes, create or update their websites and their mailing lists.
“Helping the poor honors Him.” Proverbs 14:31
3. Donate things. Donate clothes, toys, books, tools, older cars or computers or office furniture. Save unused hotel soaps and shampoos to donate to women’s shelters. Collect box tops and soup labels for charitable organizations that can use them to earn points / products from special programs. Donate gift cards you’ve been given for stores you don’t shop. (A ministry can use them as door prizes or auction items at a fundraiser or as thank-you gifts to volunteers.) Give gift certificates for your own business or service. Donate your race medals to be awarded to people bravely fighting terminal illness. Donate your hair to charities that make wigs for cancer patients. Give blood. Learn to coupon and donate those extra buy-one-get-one-free items to shelters and food banks. My friend Ellie Kay explains how to do this in her book Shop, Save, and Share.
“If you have two shirts, give one to the poor. If you have food, share it with those who are hungry.” Luke 3:11
4. Spread the word. Like their Facebook page. Follow them on Twitter or Pinterest or Google+. Comment on their posts – or better yet, share them. Every time you respond (in any way) you are a) encouraging the ministry by letting them know people care b) making sure that more people see their posts and learn about whatever it is that they do. Maybe you can’t help, but a friend or a friend of a friend can! Post positive reviews of businesses that do good and book reviews for authors you recommend. Again, you’re encouraging their hearts, helping more people find them, and making it possible for them to keep doing what God’s called them to do.
5. Find a way to fundraise. You may not have extra cash on hand. But ask God to show you how to find some! Hold a garage sale or bake sale or create something you can sell online, at a craft show or fair. Participate in an event like a charity race or walk-a-thon and get friends and family to sponsor you. Consider a “luxury” you might be willing to sacrifice for a certain amount of time, for a good cause.
“You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. ‘For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.’ And God will generously provide all you need… and plenty left over to share with others.” 2 Corinthians 9:7-8
There will always be more needs than any one of us can fill. But each one of us can prayerfully choose those God puts on our hearts – and with His help – make a real difference today.
“I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.” – Helen Keller
On Friday, I’ll share with you the names of some ministries and organizations that could use the kind of help we’ve talked about here…
In the meantime, I’d love to hear from you: Have you tried giving in any of these ways? What was the experience like? Any ideas or suggestions I haven’t mentioned?