It isn’t enough just to donate money. We need to be good stewards of what God gave us and ensure we are donating to trustworthy and effective organizations. I was encouraged by this article by Kevin DeYoung on Help for the Poor that Really Helps. The ministries we’ve supported in Kenya, Honduras and elsewhere do these things well.
Note how low fair-trade coffee is relative to other endeavors. Oh, and note how clicking the “Like” button on Facebook isn’t on the list.
Christians can too easily settle for good intentions. We usually support programs that make us feel good without considering whether they actually do good. We need to be smarter about actually thinking through which poverty strategies are most effective. “To answer this question” Wydick writes, “I polled top development economists who specialize in analyzing development programs. I asked them to rate, from 0 to 10, some of the most common poverty interventions to which ordinary people donate their money, in terms of impact and cost-effectiveness per donated dollar.”
These were the results:
1. Get clean water to rural villages (Rating: 8.3)
2. Fund de-worming treatments for children (Rating: 7.8)
3. Provide mosquito nets (Rating: 7.3)
4. Sponsor a child (Rating: 6.9)
5. Give wood-burning stoves (Rating: 6.0)
6. Give a micro-finance loan (Rating 4.2)
7. Fund reparative surgeries (Rating: 3.9)
8. Donate a farm animal (Rating 3.8)
9. Drink fair-trade coffee (Rating. 1.9)
10. Give a kid a laptop (1.8)
Of course, we want to ensure that these ministries are sharing the Gospel with people as well. Poor people without Jesus go to Hell just like rich people without Jesus do.