Whether you want to admit it or not, charitable giving is probably not one of your highest priorities. You have bills to pay, food to buy, and a social life to fund, or worse, children to raise. Throwing two-dollars into the tin shaken at the traffic lights doesn’t count, not really. When it comes to charitable giving, we humans aren’t the most charitable of creatures.
As a Christian, this has taken on another level of guilt for me, as I am ‘commanded’ to put aside a certain amount of money for the ‘work of the Lord’, a very religious sounding way of saying charitable giving.
At least, that’s how I have interpreted it.
Some people assume that Christian giving – tithing – is automatically intended for the church. Well, sure, there are some who might want to give to the church, but I sure as hell don’t. I want my money going somewhere where it is actually needed.
And one need only look for a few minutes in the New Testament of the Bible for examples of Jesus giving to the poor or doing something for the needy.
But still, giving is a difficult thing to do. Seeing a portion of your income disappear so regularly is – for some – too hard. This is especially the case in times when finances are tight and there isn’t a lot of money coming in to begin with.
All of these things led me to devise my own method of giving charitably. Because, in the end, not only did I feel a faith-related call to do so, but I could see that it was a necessary part of my being human; I am better off than others, and therefore I want to give.
So what do I do?
I buy myself clothes.
You see, I need clothes. Whether it’s a T-Shirt or a hoodie, clothing my body is a necessity, and something that I have the funds to manage.
These days you are paying $20 to $30 for a good T-Shirt (I’m in Australia) that won’t disintegrate the moment it is pulled over your head. So I ask myself two questions; why not buy a good one, and why not buy one that supports a charity.
My favourite example of this is the website Sevenly.
According to their website, their mission is:
to harness the power of art and community to build sustainable awareness and funding movements that support charities in their efforts to change the world
we believe in the value of the human being, and that there is no greater calling than to provide, heal, rescue, and serve others
and their vision is:
to be the world’s most effective cause activation platform leading a generation toward intentional generosity and love for others.
And they do all of this by providing for purchase a new T-Shirt or hoodie each week, from which $7 will go to the designated charity being highlighted that week. Seven dollars from every T-Shirt, and a new T-Shirt every seven days. Sevenly.
Over the past few months they have donated tens of thousands of dollars to a variety of charities: Clothes4Souls, Autism Speaks, Somaly Mam Foundation, Pencils in Promise, and many more. Since their start in June of 2011, Sevenly has raised a total of over $320,000, a number that just keeps growing with each week and charity that passes. I’ve never yet seen them miss a target.
And there are more organisations out there. Another favourite of mine is the Yellow Bird Project, which combines the hip and cool bands from the indie/alternative band scene with charitable giving.
Giving can be hard, and turning it into a chance to get something may sound selfish, but when your purchase goes to provide a child in Africa with mosquito netting, or provides a kid in Bolivia with clothing … well, do you think those kids are asking how?
“People Matter” from Sevenly