by Tom Atema
Co-Founder of Heart for Lebanon.
The needs of the poor, displaced and marginalized people in this world have become greater. With an increasing number of wars and natural disasters, more people are affected and today’s nonprofits have their hands full.
At the same time the needs of the poor and vulnerable are becoming increasingly more complex. Almost every day my inbox has compelling situations that need resources. The time has come (maybe passed) when we can no longer consider just giving money, time, and talents to feel like we have accomplished something good. For those of us who are Christ-followers, we have a deeper and a greater obligation to be excellent stewards of our time and resources.
For many years, we at Heart for Lebanon, have worked hard on the core belief that ‘no one gives or donates’ money, time, or talents to us. Rather their money, time, and talents are investmentsinto the Kingdom. One main reason is, we believe investments demand a return, accountability, and focused leadership.
Four elements that should help change your thinking to be a better steward in this area:
- RETURN OF INVESTMENT: When you want to invest with your church, local Christian radio station, Best Buddies or some other nonprofit work, do your due diligence. Find out if they are really making a difference in accordance with their mission.
- ACCOUNTABILITY and TRANSPARENCY: Call the financial office and talk to the financial administrator, ask for the independent audit, ask for the P & L. Ask as many questions as you need to until you have a confidence level that you need to decide about that non-profit.
- INVESTORS ARE NOT WORKING AGAINST THEMSELVES: When investments are in line with your philanthropic philosophy, investors are less likely to find themselves in a difficult position that undermines their financial strategy. Yes, this assumes business, foundations, and individuals have an investment strategy. I believe as believers, an investment strategy is mandatory.
- POTENTIAL TO LEVERAGE OTHER INVESTMENTS: Impact investing can provide a bridge between your philanthropy philosophy, and, at the same time, create a new passion or rebuild your current passion to pray as well as have a deeper interest for the area you are investing in. You will be more apt to tell others with a high level of passion about your investment and the return you receiving.
Look under the hood! Be very confident that you are the best steward you can be.
(We would count it a privilege to connect you with an independent person who helps Christians develop a personal philanthropy strategy. Just email me Tom.Atema@HeartforLebanon.org for more information.)
As a faith-based nonprofit I encourage you to also check out our stories, ask for our independent audit, monthly videos to see if we are “Making Disciples”. We also have areas in our deferred giving area that are right for you to consider such as Will’s, and Donor Advised funds all designed to meet your personal and business philanthropy philosophy. Please feel free to call our office and talk with our Director of Administration and Finances. Our office number is (828) 505-8432.