Fear grips donors to charity

February 19, 2008
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Wheeler Mission Ministries broke the unsettling news yesterday that it is laying off 13 staff and shifting its ministries for youth and families to another charity in order to minimize an anticipated operating deficit.

Why? Donors are worried about the economy, a veteran Wheeler fund raiser said. Layered on top of recession jitters is the concern normally experienced during presidential election years.

What do you think? Are you giving less to charities?
  • I'm actually giving more to charities now. At the end of the year, as I began to think about my goals, I realized that one of the things I wanted to do was give more to charities outside of church. I've always tithed and will continue to do so, but realized I needed to use my offering (the amount over and above my tithe) to help those in need. The biggest struggle is to determine where to give. If you're not careful you can end up with paralysis by analysis. Right now I'm giving to Wheeler Mission, Campus Crusade, and I'm also doing some giving on donorschoose.org (very cool site - teachers post projects they'd like to fund in their classrooms and donors choose projects to fund - check it out). Ultimately I think I want to focus my giving on education and job creation, since these have such huge downstream impacts. I challenge everyone reading this to pick a charity and donate today. It feels good, and I believe it's what we're called to do, to help others. You'll find that if you are intentional about giving, you'll view your discretionary expenditures in a different light. It's a beautiful thing.
  • Is the Star article just a vehicle to pander for more donations? If so, then I would like to see some accountability on Wheelers part. They have never publicly shown their books, and they have the right not too if they desire. As a result of this, they pass on grants that they are eligible for fear of showing their books. My point being is how much is their admin. overhead? Is it 5%,10%, 20%, or 50%? All are possibilities, but no one knows. Asking for money if their admin. overhead is over 20% is inconceivable to me. Seems they were flush with money several years ago, when they bought the adjoining building on Delaware, the building on Michigan and just recently the Lighthouse Mission on Market Street, whose property should be worth a sizeable chunk. As with all donations, one should look into where the money goes, and how it is used.

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