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How To Give During The Covid-19 Crisis

Warren Cole Smith

During the COVID-19 crisis, we have been getting a lot of requests for advice on giving.  In general, giving advice about where to give is not what MinistryWatch does.  We focus more on how to give.  Our mission is to encourage transparency and accountability on the part of ministries, and wise stewardship on the part of donors.

However, these are extraordinary times.  Normal giving patters are disrupted.  Some people are receiving checks from the government that, by God’s grace, they are able to share with others.  So while we do not want to be anyone’s conscience, we do believe there are general principles all donors can follow when giving.  Further, during this time of COVID-19, some needs are more acute and some opportunities are more leveraged than others.  So, in that spirit, here are a few principles we believe donors should follow if – by God’s grace — they want to “step up” and do more during this time.

Begin With Your Church.  Churches are struggling during this time.  Though many churches have transitioned to on-line giving, many givers haven’t fully made the shift, and giving at most churches is down.  At MinistryWatch we believe that one’s first responsibility is to the local church.  Make sure you are current with your giving there first.

Continue To Give Locally.  Your church likely supports local ministries.  Perhaps your church supports the local Pregnancy Resource Center (PRC) or Gospel Rescue Mission.  Find out what your local church supports and magnify that effort during these hard times.  Your church, by deciding to partner with these ministries, has already done the hard work of “vetting” the ministry for you.

Local Pregnancy Resource Center.  It is tragic but true that many abortion facilities have stayed open during this time.  That makes the work of Pregnancy Resource Centers more vital than ever.  If you don’t know the PRC closest to you, click here to find Heartbeat International’s global directory of Pregnancy Resource Centers, or here to find CareNet’s US directory. 

Local Food Bank.  Even during “good times” your local food bank likely is active in providing food to the hungry and those with food insecurities.  That means, in part, that they have already torn down a lot of the logistical barriers in the supply chain.  They already have relationships with food manufacturers and distributors to receive food at steeply discounted prices.  They have trained volunteers and staff.  Giving to your local food bank is a highly leveraged way to care for those with food needs in your area.

Gospel Rescue Missions.  During COVID-19, the problem of homelessness is magnified.  Giving to homeless shelters is another way to leverage your giving dollars, because these organizations have already solved problems related to ministry and logistics.  However, it’s important to note that not all homeless shelters are created equally.  An organization that attempts to solve physical and material brokenness — without also including a spiritual component in its healing work — is destined to fail.  That’s why we strongly recommend giving to the Christ-centered organizations that are a part of the Association of Gospel Rescue Missions (now called The CityGate Network).  The CityGate Network has more than 300 member organizations.  Find the one nearest to you by clicking here. 

Give Wisely.  Now is not the time to give based on an emotional appeal.  God gave us emotions, and He gave us His Holy Spirit, but he also gave us a brain, and a community of believers, and a wealth of resources to help us be wise givers.  Use these resources.  Do not give to organizations you don’t know.  Make sure the organization is fully transparent in the way it uses money.  (To understand what that means, read about MinistryWatch’s Transparency Grades here.)

Finally, after taking all of the above into account, below you will find a list taken from the MinistryWatch database.  This list has Relief and Development ministries that have a 4- or 5-Star Financial Efficiency Rating and an “A” Transparency Grade from MinistryWatch.  Every organization on this list is also a member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability.  We hope you find this list helpful. 

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Warren Cole Smith
Warren Cole Smith

Warren previously served as Vice President of WORLD News Group, publisher of WORLD Magazine and has more than 30 years of experience as a writer, editor, marketing professional, and entrepreneur. Before launching a career in Christian journalism 20 years ago, Smith spent more than seven years as the Marketing Director at PricewaterhouseCoopers.

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