When you or your family become passionate about a cause, you will probably be eager to share about it whenever you can.
Yet if you donate money to nonprofits working on the issues you care about, you may feel concerned about announcing your giving habits to your friends. It is true, Jesus instructs us to give without fanfare:
“When you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret” (Matthew 6: 3-4 NIV).
Jesus’s primary concern seems to be pride. He warns us not to “announce it with trumpets … to be honored by others” (v. 2). You can share your heart for the causes you support without trumpeting your own involvement.
In our interviews with three donor families who all champion the cause of clean water, we learned some creative, humble ways to do just that.
1. Live it out within your family.
Family is the training-ground for generosity. When you model your passion for a cause for your children, they can learn about the issue, begin to share your heart for the people affected, and imitate your generosity.
Include them in volunteer projects. Show them the impact reports you receive from the ministries you support. Help them practice giving with their own money.
Best of all, simply let them see how you dedicate your time and resources to the cause. They will follow in your footsteps.
“While [their dad was gone on a mission trip with neverthirst], our girls went to school and told all their friends: ‘My dad is bringing clean water to kids who don’t have any.’ And it was so amazing to hear how Olive was trying to take up an offering at her school so that her friends can give to neverthirst.” – April Cushman
2. Let your enthusiasm overflow. Others will take notice.
“First of all, everybody knows that we’re involved with neverthirst, okay, everybody. Everybody we know.” – Lois Gallardo
As you learn more about your chosen cause, you will gain knowledge and a growing zeal for the issue. This knowledge inevitably shapes your life. The people you spend time with will see that you think, talk, and act differently. The joy of generosity is infectious; they may want to know more.
“I have a brother who got involved with neverthirst because of our influence in his life. He started giving, and he is not a big giver and not a big Christian, but he believed in neverthirst because of us. … That was an impact in somebody else in my life that I really cared for.” – Lois Gallardo
3. Create opportunities in the workplace.
Look for creative ways to invite your colleagues or clients to ask questions if they want to. Your work does not need to connect directly with missions or charitable giving in order to create opportunities for conversation.
For example, the Baxter family turned their family dental practice into a global missions-themed office. The visual theme represents their goal to be generous with the profits from the business.
“So, each room is a different continent. It’s mainly for me, so I don’t forget … the purpose of what we’re doing here. … Inside those rooms we have pictures of kids from those areas. I offer to pray with patients before their procedures. … Our employees know we’re not just doing this to fix teeth, we’re doing it to help people around the world. I think that gives them a greater sense of purpose coming to work on Monday morning.” – Richard Baxter
4. Plan activities to raise awareness.
Many of the world’s greatest problems have tangible effects on vulnerable people. Hands-on activities allow people to understand the weight of the challenges facing their brothers and sisters around the globe.
Tom and Lois Gallardo created activities for their church’s Vacation Bible School (VBS) that helped kids understand the importance of clean water access first-hand.
“We had [large] cans and we’d fill them up with water and challenge the kids to carry them. And they’d say, ‘Oh, this is so heavy!’ It is mind-blowing to them to think that they just barely got it down the church aisle, but [kids in other countries] have to pick it up on their shoulders and carry it for miles, multiple times every day.
“One of the parents contacted me and said their kids came home from VBS talking all about kids in other countries who have no water. They wanted to do something.” – Lois Gallardo
The Cushman family participates in a similar event through their daughters’ school. The annual “Water Walk” invites students to fill and carry large water jugs on their shoulders.
These experiences build empathy for the cause.
5. Plan charitable events to bring more people in.
Other fundraising events can also expose more people to the cause you support. Your interests and hobbies could be an entry point for friends and acquaintances to learn more.
For example, Trey Cushman learned about the clean water crisis through a workout fundraiser. He initially attended the Workout for Water event just because it sounded fun.
“I knew nothing about neverthirst at all, but it was working out with my friends, and it was just a really fun time. All the proceeds went to neverthirst. I ended up giving a little bit of money and I remember thinking, okay, this is cool ….” – Trey Cushman
That small donation opened the door to a lasting relationship with neverthirst and a chance for the whole Cushman family to become champions for clean water.
6. Invite others to join your volunteering.
Volunteering is one great way to get yourself more involved in the cause; it can do the same for your friends. Whether you volunteer your time online, through periodic service projects, or even on longer-term travel projects, your friends may want to join to see what’s happening on the ground.
You may even work better together.
“Our first [volunteer] trip to Cambodia, because it was so uncomfortable, I figured we needed to bring friends. So we invited another couple, and they came with us and became part of the neverthirst family. A year or two after that, our community group got involved.” – Lois Gallardo
Every family is unique. What talents, communities, hobbies, or other resources has God given you to share the passions he has placed on your heart?
Hear more ideas from these generous families.
The joy of generosity is contagious. Watch what happened when we invited these three families to sit down together and talk about their shared passion for clean water access.Watch the Video