You learn that a friend is struggling financially and want to help. You have a favorite charity or nonprofit you want to support on a more regular basis. Your community has recently been hit with very damaging weather and wonder how you can help in some way. Yet, when you check your bank balance, there just doesn’t seem to be any extra cash.
For most of us we tell ourselves there will be some extra next month. Next month rolls around, and it seems even less likely to give financially. You wanted to buy some clothes for a family who lost so much in recent floods. Unfortunately, you can’t seem to find a way to save enough for at least one worthy cause let alone the many you see struggling beside yourself. You ask yourself, “Where can I even commit to giving on a regular basis? It just seems impossible.”
How about first looking over the many areas of daily living that reflect your core values and the lives of those around you? We often get so immersed in the daily rush and responsibilities surrounding us every moment. We find ourselves impacted by not only our own daily habits, needs, and commitments, but also by others in our lives, our community, and even those many systems that seem to control our daily lives more than we want them to. For a few who have had it, they simply disconnect from those systems and get off the grid completely. But for most of us, we want to stay connected, not isolated and hiding from community and the lives of those we care about.
For those who want to contribute to the lives of others within community, our nation, and the world, here’s a list of life areas impacting us daily. These are the areas you can assess how you are already contributing in money, materials, and time. That way, even if you find your bank account zeroing out or in the red each month, you can take solace in knowing you are already making an impact.
As you consider each area, write down the ways you are already contributing based on your core values in daily life.
I. RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATIONS/ CHURCH/MISSIONS: Organizations that support your faith and desire for outreach to humanity.
II. BASIC CORE VALUES & PRINCIPLES: Organizations that support your core values and life principles.
III. HISTORY/WESTERN CULTURE: Organizations that support your values and principles in global human affairs and lessons of history.
IV. SCIENCE/MEDICINE: Organizations that seek truth in our universe and life on earth; observe and understand the natural world from a scientific and spiritual perspective. Be cautious about certain perspectives that may have extreme views and inappropriately discount the faith dimensions, credible scientific discoveries, and the principles of macro- and micro- adaptation.
V. HOME/FAMILY/VALUES: Organizations that encourage and support the family, home, and core human values.
VI. PUBLIC POLICY/DOMESTIC AND INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS: Organizations supporting human justice and compassion in legislation, domestic policy, and international relations.
VII. BUSINESS AND LEGAL ISSUES: Organizations that support and train business leaders and legal advisors to advance integrity, honesty, and excellence in the work place and our nation’s legal system.
VIII. EDUCATION/CHILD DEVELOPMENT: Organizations that train young children, teens, and adults to be mature, informed, effective leaders in every field of life.
IX. MEDIA/ENTERTAINMENT/CULTURAL DISCERNMENT: Organizations that support your core values in entertainment, news, cultural trends, and influence the media to improve the quality of programming.
X. SOCIAL MINISTRIES: Organizations whose mission is to provide an alternative to state-run welfare programs with effective, compassionate ministries to the underserved, needy and unfortunate.
XI. IMPLEMENTATION: Organizations that coordinate and mobilize leaders across society to improve their communities and the world.
One important step to take when supporting someone, a group, charity, or nonprofit is to check out their fiscal integrity and how they are accomplishing their life goals and mission. Keep this in mind for those areas you already support and those you want to consider.
Which areas reflect your greater passion for benevolence and giving? How about writing down specific groups related to each area where you are currently involved with either through financial giving, materials, and/or your time. Write down also how you are supporting those groups.
Are there areas in which you haven’t really given much thought? Ask yourself, “How can I support my core values in those areas?” Then write down your goal and plan for implementing that support. All this will bring you back to your bank balance and budget items. If you don’t easily see where support can be included in your budget, check out your discretionary spending areas, such as dining, clothing, entertainment. How much passion and commitment do you have for helping in those areas? Enough to sacrifice a little, or maybe even a lot sometimes?
You are the only one to assess your heart and financial situation. How important is this to you? More than anything else, your passion and commitment will help you maintain support on a regular basis. Maybe it’s time to discuss your thoughts with your spouse, family, a trusted friend?
Benevolence and giving are genuine expressions of compassion and love to humanity. No matter how you help, there are individuals in your neighborhood and around the world who need your help. The heart-felt rewards of giving are far beyond the gift itself. Experience the joy and satisfaction of helping humanity in your own community and across the oceans. You just may be surprised at how many ways you already give.