"If you knew what I know about the power of giving, you would not let a single meal pass without sharing it in some way." - Buddha
Charitable contributions have changed a lot in the information age. Ready access to information and increased expectations about transparency have helped in many ways. Organizations are held to a higher degree of scrutiny than ever before. Following Hurricane Harvey and the other severe weather events a few members asked me about Episcopal Relief and Development and our support there.
First, I believe we are fortunate to have this as a national ministry. It allows us to respond to many needs and tragedies through our churches. They offer a lot of information about how this help is offered on their website. They also include financials and annual summaries, where one might note that, "at least 90% of every donor dollar goes directly to programs".
Others asked about the difference between individual donations, versus when the church takes up an offering. Both methods have advantages. I will do my best to summarize a few. When we give as a church, it shows that this is a priority for us as a community. It may also simplify your giving record for taxes. When we give as individuals the money is available to those in need a bit faster. Given the timing of Hurricane Harvey in particular we had people asking on a Monday, so encouraging people to give directly seemed to make the most sense.
I am proud of Ascension for responding to so many different needs, through many different ways. As a church we support many ministries locally and around the world. May we continue to strive to extend help, through financial and other means as we seek to be Christ to the world around us.