I have worked in full time ministry and the missions field all my adult life. I am often asked how to determine whether a ministry is worth donating to. Here are some of the criteria I look at when considering whether or not to financially support a ministry:
- I look for a ministry that measures their results. For example, how many people are benefiting directly? How many meals were distributed? How many children or adults attended the program? These are results or outcomes I can quantify and measure as apposed to a general statement like “we minister to the community on a regular basis.” Measurable results are an indication of good management within a ministry.
- I check how much it cost per person to reach those people? I then compare this with other smaller and larger ministries doing similar work. Obviously, I believe in the ministry of Orchard: Africa. You can check out the cost per beneficiary here.
- I determine what the actual benefit is to the beneficiary and whether I believe this to be a worthy benefit. For example, when supporting a ministry that cares for poor children, it is important to me that the child receives regular meals rather than an occasional food parcel.
- I take the ministry’s track record into consideration. Have they been consistent and stuck with it through thick and thin? This does not mean I would never give to start-up or young ministries. It means that I do due diligence and find out about the ministry, who the ministry is accountable to, what their leadership structure looks like and whether they are governed by sound financial principles.
- I have sometimes heard people say they want to donate to a ministry where all of their donation goes to the beneficiary. Often times this means they don’t want to support staff. Although I personally don’t give to ministries where there is an obvious and unnecessary staff overload, I understand that good ministry needs good staff. The beneficiaries deserve quality ministry and quality management of the project, which only comes with quality staff. I often give directly to staff support for ministries in which I believe. Without quality staff the beneficiaries suffer and, as is often the case, without quality staff the project eventually peters out. Quality staff produces sustainability. Which reinforces my 4th point.
- Note: All the above can be found on most ministry websites. If not, simply ask them.
- Most important, I take time in prayer. All I have belongs to the Lord thus I should allow Him to lead me where He wants His resources invested.
Question: What are some criteria you look for when giving? I would love to hear from you. Please go ahead and leave a comment below.