We love to give. Every year, evangelical Christians give hundreds of millions of dollars annually to missions, Christian colleges, relief organizations, rescue missions, and other proxies for our do-good impulses. Indeed, 92 percent of CT readers give to nonchurch-based Christian organizations. On average, those readers give more than $2,000 annually to parachurch groups, based on research surveys.
We love to give because we want to extend our ministry beyond our own reach by supporting those who will devote themselves full-time to saving, shaping, and changing lives.
What do we expect in return for our dollars? Efficiency: We expect an organization not to spend too much on fundraising or too lavishly on administrative salaries and perks, and we expect it to get maximum mileage from donor dollars. Effectiveness: We expect the organization to use the money to produce measurable results. Faithfulness: We expect a Christian nonprofit to conform every aspect of its work to the gospel. Christian nonprofits that are efficient, effective, and faithful earn our trust-and our gifts.
The New Era scandal that washed over America's nonprofits in May has damaged the sense of trust that has developed through many years of ministry (see "The 'Post-New Era' Era," in this issue). The Foundation for New Era Philanthropy had promised to solicit matching-fund grants from anonymous wealthy donors for Christian colleges and ministries, as well as for secular nonprofit organizations. All the nonprofits had to do was meet new fundraising targets, place the money on deposit with New Era, and in six months, they would receive double the amount. For harried development directors and ministry leaders, New Era was a dream come true-until, ...1
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