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What category are you?

May 27, 2011

The recent economic downturn has revealed more than just our shady lending practices and out of control spending, it has also exposed the motives behind our charitable giving.  We are a charitable people, when compared to the rest of the world, but we apparently give out of our abundance, as opposed to our giving being a way of life.

This month, Barna Group released findings from their most recent survey related to charitable giving.  Here’s an excerpt from the report:

Consistent with this trend, the Barna study revealed that the number of people who are tithing has also dropped. The practice of tithing – donating at least 10% of one’s income to churches or other charities – has been relatively stable over the past decade, hovering between 5% and 7%. Currently, the national tithing rate is down to 4% of the adult population. This is slightly below the levels of the last 10 years and significantly lower than last year’s rate (7%).

For the first time in 10 years, the tithing rate is below 5%.  What this tells us is our giving is conditional.  As long as we have an abundance, as long as we can meet our needs (and some of our wants) , then we’ll give.  But as soon as things look bleak, time to pull in the reigns.  At createmargin, we’ve set out to change this.

So, what category are you – reactive or proactive?  Proactive givers are defined by the following:

  • Giving is based on a % of your income. (10% is the recommended starting point.  If that’s Jesus’ standard, figure it’s a good place to start.)  No matter what you make, you’ve made a proactive decision about what you’ll give.
  • Improving your standard of living is not the priority, but impacting the world around you.
  • Recognize that living your dream will be discovered through your giving, not through your earning.

Be proactive.  Make giving a way of life.  Change a world.  Maybe next year we can move that 4% up a few percentage points or twenty!

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