As a result of the situation in the Gulf, I have already heard from two different “Charities”.  When I think about it, I keep my iPad handy and when I get such a call, I call up a website I have bookmarked called Charity Navigator.  Charity Navigator has a data base of charities and information on how the money each charity receives and how it gets used.  It is a good recourse to have.  Half the time when I am on the phone with one of these folks, all I have to say is “according to Charity Navigator…”  and the scammers hang up.  It saves time.  When I do not have the internet handy I ask the caller for the web site and advise them I will look them up and if I deem them worth, we will contribute.  Usually when you get such a call, some of the money you contribute is actually going to a business that is making the calls.  I suggest that if you do want to make a contribution that you do it directly to the organization and not through the service that is making the call – they will be able to keep more of that money for their work.

I never grow tired of telling you to pray about what you give and when you give it.  I also want to encourage you to do a little homework in those organizations that contact you for donations.  They will tell you about all the good work they do, but they really don’t want to answer questions about how much they spend on salaries and administration (which is an immediate red flag for me).  It is how we can be innocent as doves and wise as serpents (Mt 10:16).

When you choose to give – whether it is to an organization, or to a person standing on the street corner with a cardboard sign - do not second guess yourself, do not be concerned whether they really need it, or whether they are ripping you off.  Proverbs 19:17 says: “Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will repay him for his deed.”  If they really need it you have blessed them, and pleased the Lord.  If they do not truly need it, you have pleased the Lord, who has seen your heart in this matter, and that individual is also completely exposed before God.  He will take care of both of you.  Trust God to guide you and help you give with wisdom.