The power of consistency
We've all had a tug at our heartstrings that led us to giving a lump some to an organization or a stranger. We feel great about our contribution to the world, then move on with our busy lives and within a week's time forget all about that person or place that needed our investment. I'm not against big gives or Christmas charities or end of the year financial gifts. My family and I participate in all of the above. However, truly INVESTING is more powerful when done consistently and repeatedly.
Think about your income. If you were to get your entire year's wages in one, big check at the beginning of the year, would you be able to budget wisely in order to have what you need for the whole year? Few people have that kind of discipline. Organizations are the same way. A consistent amount given monthly is a dependable source of income for places like churches and non-profits. Longevity matters. When you're choosing to help an organization with your dollars, try thinking about it from a long-term perspective. How can you divide up your intentions so that they sustain over time? If you are able to give $1000, could you set up a reminder to do that in $100 increments over a 10 month time frame? Giving slowly and regularly also invests YOU in the organization. As you see monthly withdrawals from your bank account, your thoughts travel to the people you are helping. You remember to check in, to pray and to promote this place to your friends.
When you invest in a person, several dozen small conversations over the course of a year go much deeper than one hour spent together at a café. True friendship a takes time and intention. We have the most rewarding experiences with the people we spend regular, predictable time with. Financial contributions to organizations should be viewed no differently.
The organizations we invest in tell us their most valued, impactful partnerships are those that are dependable over months and years. This isn't to say that big gifts don't have their place. They do! When we have had unexpected finances come our way, we love to pass along the blessing. And there is nothing like the expression on the face of someone who receives a sizable amount they weren't expecting. However, I tend to think that we over-emphasize holidays and end of the year gifts and under-value consistent, dependable amounts. When you are in it for the long haul, the places you send your dollars are able to make a plan for using that money well.
In our family, we take our dependable income (salaries), figure out 10% each month (read more here) and divide it up among the organizations we partner with. We take any unexpected income and drop blessing bombs whenever possible. How can you become more regular with your giving? What is your goal for the year? How can you divide it up so that the places you're hoping to help can rely on recurring contributions throughout the year?