We’d like to thank everyone who participated in the 2010 Just Giving Challenge! It was our first experiment in using this blog to create space for giving together, in a sort of mini-online-community. We’re grateful for the privilege of celebrating Jesus’ coming in a way that he would have wanted.
Whether you were able to participate this year or not, I think you might find the results interesting.
Impact by the numbers
Matching Grant: $3300
Reported Giving: $8800
Total Impact: $12,100.00
Impact in our hearts
Several participants wrote reflections on their experience. Here’s a selection of their thoughts:
I was definitely more aware of what we spent this Christmas. The following thought has mixed emotions: If I spend more, I spend twice as much because I’m matching every dollar. But it’s going to something I believe in, and, at the same time it is limiting my consumerism. Since everything I spend costs twice as much, my instinct was “spend less”. Wondering how this might lessen my consumer mindset if I did this year round – match every dollar I spent at a store (clothing, electronics, basically everything but a grocery store), at a restaurant, or on entertainment. Also want to balance it by being a joyful giver.
Our family gave to an organization that provides clean water for villages without wells. In front of the computer screen we placed two glasses of water: one clear and sparkling, one dirty and brown. We watched a video on the impact of clean water and prayed for the recipients as we clicked the “Donate” button. It was the most spiritual experience we’ve ever had involving a computer.
We were both struck by how simple it was to sit down by the computer, learn about these organizations, and donate. By contrast, this Christmas was so full of running around getting gifts for people and then returning unnecessary gifts from other people, that spending time thinking about this challenge was a welcomed respite. Matching our Christmas giving seems like a great family tradition to have every year.
I did my usual end-of-year giving to organizations I support, but I also used the Advent season as an opportunity to reflect deliberately on how I use my material resources. I’ve been feeling distanced from my deeper beliefs about the issue, so I revisited old journal entries I wrote around ten years ago when things felt much clearer to me. On an intellectual level, I still completely agree with my younger self, and in terms of external manifestations little is different. But I have to admit that, on a gut or spiritual level, I don’t feel as convicted as I once did — the choices I make now feel more like a matter of habit than principle. Perhaps this mellowing is inevitable with time and age, but I find myself wondering if in fact I’ve sold-out or lost my way…
This Challenge allowed me to experience a deep joy in my holiday shopping and gave me a wonderful excuse to research new organizations that are doing God’s work in inaugurating His kingdom on Earth. I hope this Challenge returns for a second year!
Impact on others
We were amazed at the variety of different organizations to which people gave. People gave to 28 different NGOs, with only one being mentioned more than once. Just a brief visit to these organizations’ websites is quite an education on the wide variety of creative work being done among the poor. I encourage you to google just one that’s new to you!
- Boston Project
- Common Hope for Health
- Compassion International
- Edna Adan University Hospital (obstetric fistula work)
- International Medical Corps
- Joshua Fund
- Kolkata City Mission
- Lifewater International
- Mennonite Central Committee
- Mother’s Choice
- My New Red Shoes
- Project Muso Ladamunen
- Room to Read
- Samaritan’s Purse
- Shanghai Qing Cong Quan Autism School
- Shepherd’s Field Children’s Village
- Stop TB Partnership
- Turkmenistan Youth & Civic Values Foundation
- Umbrella Initiatives
- Urban Promise Ministries, Camden NJ
- Village Reach
- Voice of the Martyrs
- World Vision