I am sure that you have been touched by the tragic effects of cancer. My mother passed away at the age of 49 from lung cancer. This was certainly one of the low times of my life. I couldn’t understand how it could happen. She wasn’t able to see her grandchildren grow up or be part of their lives. Her life was cut off early. I miss her every single day.
I have a theory on why we haven’t cured cancer and other similarly tragic diseases. And this is not your typical theory- healthy, scientific, you need to eat more of this or that, exercise more, take the right vitamins, etc. This goes to the heart of the problem. The real reason we haven’t been able to attack this disease properly. So what’s the reason-
We are too cheap.
We expect someone else to handle the money that it takes to find a cure. We want the government, rich people, philanthropists, charitable organizations, pharmaceutical companies, etc. to pay for finding a cure.
We want someone else to solve the problem.
We want to keep ALL of our money.
The real tragedy is that we have forgotten how to give.
You can always find an excuse why someone else, other than yourself, needs to provide the money. I need to save for retirement. I need to fund my kid’s college. I need a new car. I have credit card bills. All of these are great reasons, but we cannot solve the world’s BIG problems without BIG numbers. And it takes all of us to make it happen.
Kathy and I have been involved in many fundraisers through the years. Kathy also leads a non-profit ministry (www.here2there.org ) that travels on mission trips to minister to others in need all over the world. I am always amazed at how folks can get agitated when you simply ask them to give. So they are agitated at us for trying the raise money to help out someone in need or a special cause? That just doesn’t make any sense- right? I am past it. I will continue to ask and let it be their struggle- not mine. The statistics we experience for giving are generally pretty low. I bet less than one out of fifty give on the average.
There are plenty of ways you can rationalize not giving. You heard the execs at the organization make big money. You heard that the percentages that goes to research is lower than average. You heard that someone was caught taking money at the organization. On and on it goes…
The fact is- you can’t control those things. And for the most part, these organizations do a pretty good job with the donations. There is only one thing you can control- and that is to give. If we all decided to cure cancer once and for all- we could do it. If everyone who has a story like mine gave $1,000, we would amass such a huge amount of research money that a cure would be inevitable. The problem is we are too cheap. Most folks generally ignore requests to give. They give a big fat zero! They will leave it up to everyone else to do the giving. And the giving is just not happening the way it should.
One way that I learned how to give was through tithing at church. When you actually write a large check each week and find out that you will still make it financially, you are truly exercising your giving muscle. The Lord tells us to test Him on this. I have done it and He has always provided!
Tomorrow is Giving Tuesday, a day that is targeted for giving to non-profits and organizations that are trying to make a difference in the world. Instead of buying a gift for someone who doesn’t really need anything, how about giving to an organization that really needs your money? Yes- it may go towards someone’s salary and feeding their family but that’s not all bad- right? If you are stuck on the efficiency of the organization, there are watchdog websites out there like www.charitynavigator.org that provide ratings for non-profits that can assist you in making a giving decision. It’s a good idea to do your homework, but don’t get too hung up on the percentages or ratings.
Give to a charity where your heart is or an organization where you have a personal connection. Give to someone you know. Give to an area where you want to make a difference. Give until it hurts! We will not solve the problems in the world until we realize that we are all individually responsible. It’s not someone else’s responsibility- it’s yours too! Start exercising your giving muscle. You will find out that you can do it. And you, yes you, will actually help to make the world a better place.