Three tips for choosing a charity

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How do I choose a charity to give to? 

This seems like it should be a no brainer in some ways. After all, the Scriptures show us that in the heart of every true believer is a deep desire to be generous to others with their time, talents, and treasures. Maybe not all in the same ways or all the same causes, but if we’ve seen the richness of Christ, we will not be people who withhold from those in need.

Which takes us back to the question: How do you choose what charity to give to? In Awaiting a Savior: The Gospel, the New Creation and the End of Poverty, I shared three factors to consider:

Do they share the gospel?

First and foremost, give to organizations that demonstrate Christ’s love, not only in practical ways but also by explicitly sharing the gospel with those they serve. “Deed ministry” and “Word ministry” cannot be divorced. It is not enough to give a child clean drinking water; that child also needs “living water.” (cf. Jer. 2:13, 17:13; John 4:10; Rev. 7:17)

Are they trustworthy?

Equally important is an organization’s ability to prove its trustworthiness. How do they handle money? Can they prove that what they say they do actually happens? This is ultimately a wisdom issue.

Do you align with their values?

Finally, consider whether or not their goals and methods resonate with your values. If what you really care about is giving people clean water (along with the gospel), then do it. If you care about seeing a little boy or girl go to school, do it. If your heart is for training pastors in the developing world, do it. Get involved in whatever cause you find motivating.


photo credit: Zoriah via photopin cc

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  • Matt

    Do you have a list of suggestions for Charities that may fill the void left by WV but who follow those 3 points?

    • http://www.bloggingtheologically.com Aaron Armstrong

      I can tell you who we support as a family. Outside of our regular giving to our local church, we support children through Compassion Canada (Compassion International), a student missionary through Power to Change (Campus for Christ), and Ligonier Ministries.

      I’ve heard very good things about Safe Harbor International, and Samaritan’s Purse is trustworthy as well.

      Be sure to check out organizations at charitynavigator.org as well. It won’t help you with the mission/values side of things, but it will at least help with the financial quesiton.

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