Why People Give More at Christmas

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According to a recent story in USA Today over 1/3 of all charitable giving occurs in the month of December.

WHY?

As a Christian and a church leader, I truly believe it is because it’s the time of year where many people remember the gift that God gave us of His only Son.  Of course, I know there are many mundane reasons also…

  • It’s the end of the year and people are looking for tax write-offs
  • People receive end of the year bonuses and so have available money
  • People are spending so much on gifts for family that a few bucks to charity seem well…less.

Ask someone for $50.00 in July they’ll say they can’t afford it but after they just spent $500 on a bike and a gaming system for their kid, giving $50 to charity become reasonable.

The bottom line is this church leader, your members want to give.

It’s your job to give them a compelling reason to give.

Reasons People Choose Their Church for Christmas Giving:

1. A Clear Vision

People want to understand how their giving makes a difference.  When I sponsor a child through World Vision, I receive a letter that tells me about the child including what benefits my money is purchasing. (Education, new clothes, food etc.)

Why should I give to your church?

2. Special Projects

Are their special projects happening people would be interested in?  Everything from remodeling the children’s wing to drilling a well in Africa can peak someone’s interest.  Your job becomes communication.  Get the information out there. One way is in an end of the year special campaign.

In my church leader coaching network I teach pastors how to organize an effective end-of-the-year giving campaign.  What I can tell you in this short blog is, do a campaign and communicate clearly what they will be giving to.

3. It’s Easy

I know, not the most exciting reason people give but let’s face reality.  Most people abstain from anything confusing or too difficult.

We’ve already established that people want to give more readily in December.  They are already sitting in your church building.  Make it easy to give.  Talk about the giving campaign on Sunday.  Give special envelopes to everyone.  Make it simple (3 steps or less) to give online to this campaign.

In summary, if you’re a church member, I challenge you to give as much to Christian charities this Christmas as you spend on one family member.  

If you’re a church leader, your challenge is to give them a compelling reason to choose to give to your ministry and an easy way to do it.

Merry Christmas and Happy Giving.

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Lessons on Charity from a Child

In Isaiah 11:6 there is a prophesy about the birth of Jesus, “a little child shall lead them.”  A humble baby was the form God used to teach the world the way of salvation.  I believe God often uses children to teach us His lessons today also.

So it is with the story of Rachel Beckwith. Her life can teach us the ways of Christ. Rachel was a giving child from and early age. At 5 years old, she heard about an organization called Locks of Love, a charity that takes donations of human hair from donors and creates wigs for people who have lost their own hair because of cancer or other diseases. Rachel unselfishly had her own hair cut off and sent to Locks of Love. Learning how it added dignity to a suffering person’s life, she grew her hair out for a few years and donated it again!

Then when she was 8 years old, her church began raising money to build wells in Africa through an organization called charity:water. Rachel couldn’t believe it when she learned that many children in Africa had no clean water. She didn’t just feel bad, she acted. She acted by giving up her ninth birthday party.  She gave friends and family a special request.  Instead of giving her presents, would they donate $9 each to charity:_water for water projects in Africa.  She sent up a birthday page for donations at the charity:water website.  In her own words recorded on the page, she let’s us know she hoped to raise $300.

I first heard of this type of campaign at the Catalyst Conference in Atlanta. I thought, “What an idea!”  A kid giving up their birthday presents to give a drink of water to a child.  It sound like Jesus to me. (Mark 9:41).

Rachel’s 9th birthday was June 12, 2011.  She had her donation site set up and told her friends.  Unfortunately she only raised $220.  She was a little disappointed but the story doesn’t end there.

ON July 20, Rachel was with her family riding in a car when two trucks collided to create a 13-car pileup. Their car was hit and Rachel was left in critically condition.  The rest of her family was unhurt.

Church members and friends, seeking some way of showing support, began donating on Rachel’s birthday page — charitywater.org/Rachel.

Her family and friends told Rachel at her bedside—not knowing whether she could hear them — that she had exceeded the $47,544 that the singer Justin Bieber had raised for charity:water on his 17th birthday.

When it was clear that Rachel would never regain consciousness, the family decided to remove life support. Her parents donated her hair one final time to Locks of Love, and her organs to other children.

After her passing, news began to spread about Rachel’s last fund-raiser. Donations poured in, often in $9 increments, from all over the world.  So far her website has raised over $1 Million dollars for clean water in Africa! This outpouring is explained this way:

Scott Harrison, the founder of charity:water said,
“Adults are humbled by the unselfishness of this little girl.”

Rachel’s mom is planning a trip on the anniversary of her daughter’s death next year to see some of the wells being drilled in Africa in her daughter’s name. She said.

“It’ll be overwhelming to see Rachel’s wells, to see what my 9-year-old daughter has done for people all over the world, to meet the people she has touched.”

Lord may we all learn the lesson of unselfish activism from this one child’s sacrifice.

If you’d like to give to Rachel’s last birthday wish go to: http://mycharitywater.org/Rachel/