With the myriad of charitable giving options out there, how can a Christian make a wise decision regarding whom to donate to? What causes, missions, organizations, charities, etc., are most worthy of consideration? How can money be invested to have the greatest possible eternal impact? Many people struggle with these questions. Here are some principles that should help make the decisions a little easier.
Whom to donate to? — Sound Doctrine
“You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine” (Titus 2:1).
Does the cause/mission/organization/charity proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ and uphold the authority of God’s Word? Does everything the ministry does ultimately have the goal of fulfilling the Great Commission, that is, evangelizing the lost and equipping believers into becoming fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:19–20; Acts 1:8)? Even if the primary focus of the cause is to be the hands and feet of Jesus and minister to peoples’ physical needs, is the gospel still forefront in everything it does?
Whom to donate to? — Effectiveness and Expertise
“Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown” (Matthew 13:8).
Is the cause having an impact? Is the charity actually accomplishing its mission, goals, and purposes? Is the organization demonstrating expertise in solving problems? In a crowded field, does one outreach seem to stand out from the rest in truly making a difference in peoples’ lives?
Whom to donate to? — Stewardship
“Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful” (1 Corinthians 4:2).
Is the ministry using its money wisely? Is the cause investing its resources in the things that truly matter? As in the Parable of the Talents, is the organization burying its treasure or putting it to work in the kingdom of God? Do the charity’s financial priorities appear to be in line with the priorities the Word of God outlines?
Whom to donate to? — Accountability
“Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed” (Proverbs 15:22).
Is the organization open and honest about its finances and decisions? Does any one individual have too much influence, or is there a good balance of people involved in important decisions? Is the leadership open to “iron sharpening iron” counsel (Proverbs 27:17)? Is the charity willing to fully disclose all of its appropriate financial information? Is the cause open to constructive criticism, or is it closed to feedback (Proverbs 27:6)?
Whom to donate to? — Prayer
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7).
Ask God for wisdom in regards to how He wants you to invest your money in ministry (James 1:5). Ask God to give you a passion for the things He wants you to donate to. Ask God to make it abundantly clear how you can best make financial sacrifices for an eternal impact.
Whom to donate to? — Trust God and Give
“The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:6–7).
While the above principles should help, there is no biblical “thou shalt…” on this question. We believe that, while a Christian’s primary giving should be to the local church he/she attends, there is also much freedom with this issue. Should a Christian support a child sponsorship program or donate toward ending human trafficking? Should a Christian donate to a local rescue shelter or a global evangelism outreach? There is no universal right or wrong answer to these questions. It is a matter of discernment, priorities, and passion.
Ask God to give you a passion toward the outreach He wants you to support. Do the research with the above principles in mind. Then, give!