Putting (more of) our money where the poor are

In recent weeks, I’ve come to feel that a bigger chunk of the Basinger family largess should go to organizations that serve on behalf of the poor. It would be convenient to blame campaign rhetoric (thank goodness we’re done with that) for the tugging on my heart, but I’m pretty sure it’s the Holy Spirit at work in me.

As the folks over at Sojourner remind us, “Jesus didn’t say ‘What you have done for the middle class, you have done for me.'”  Jesus is all about the poor. As one who claims to be his follower, I can either ignore most of the red-letter sections in my tattered old NIV Bible or rethink my giving priorities.

However, long-standing charitable patterns are hard to change. What with our church, six alma maters between my husband and me, my service on the boards of three Christian ministries (none of which serves the poor), the four seminaries that are near and dear to my heart, and annual and campaign gifts to my husband’s employer, Messiah College, it’s a good year when 20 percent of our giving goes to poverty-focused ministries.

Which has me curious about the giving patterns of Generous Matter readers. Hence, the poll below. I welcome your participation.


What will it take to move the needle in a new direction for our giving?  Here are strategies I’m considering for 2013.

Cutting back on random gifts. For years, I’ve chided my husband for the number of small checks he writes to a charitable mishmash.  But truth be told, I don’t do much better. With a bit more intentionality about where we give, it’s likely we can free up a couple thousand dollars for local social service ministries.

Giving more overall. The organizations that get the bulk of what Randy and I  give are important to us. We believe in their missions and we love being part of their ministry success.  We don’t want to back away from any of them. So, if we’re going to up the percentage of our giving that benefits the poor, it’ll take some new money.

Being strategic about my board work. Our money tends to follow my volunteer commitments. As I rotate off one or more of the boards on which I now serve, I need to say “no” to board work (and the giving that goes with it) except with a ministry that serves the poor.

I’m open to other suggestions (but hoping for something less onerous than “sell all and give to the poor”).  Post your ideas in the box below for all to see.

And as for my tattered old NIV Bible, the message is clear. Generous matters, and especially when we put our money where the poor are.


  1. Gish, Dorothy says:

    Thanks for the challenge. I need to give this prayerful thought beyond funding the South African BICV Women’s Scholarship Fund and my support for Lifeline.

  2. Both are worthy causes, Dorothy, and definitely in support of the poor. Your generosity continues to inspire and amaze me. Thank you.

What's your take on this topic?

%d bloggers like this: