The evidence of one’s faith is often referred to as “fruit of the Spirit” because Christians rely on the Spirit to guide them to right actions and develop their character. It’s also sometimes called “Christ-like behavior” or “Christ-like character.”
In other words, our actions (a.k.a. fruit) demonstrate that we are indeed following the teachings of Jesus. The “fruit“ is also a pretty simple way for others to discern whether not someone who claims to follow Jesus actually does—of if they’re just saying it to manipulate public opinion.
The Apostle Paul wrote to Christians in Galatia: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, KINDNESS, goodness, FAITHFULNESS, gentleness and SELF-CONTROL. Against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23
Christians, don’t assume someone shares your faith because they “say” they do. Examine the evidence. Look at their FRUIT.
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If you’ve donated to a nonprofit organization within the past few years, you’ve likely got an inbox full of donation requests for what some consider to be a “made-up holiday.”
The good news is that the narrative around this “new” non-holiday has finally started to turn, and people are seeing it for what it really is: an opportunity to collectively show unparalleled support to nonprofit organizations small and large who are working tirelessly to make this world a better place.
As you know, I am privileged to support thousands of nonprofit leaders worldwide. What you probably don’t know is that every year, when #GivingTuesday rolls around, we have a long discussion about whether or not they should participate in it. Why?
Why would a nonprofit organization—especially one that NEEDS the money to accomplish its mission—be unsure about participating in a national day of giving that was created to bring our hearts and minds back to a state of benevolence following cut-throat Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales?
Why would any nonprofit neglect engaging in a day of giving so widely marketed and advertised on both social and traditional media?
3 Reasons Why Nonprofits Hesitate Asking for Donations on #GivingTuesday
REASON #1: THE TIMING
Even though #GivingTuesday is a national campaign, it sometimes comes right on the heels of an organization’s established annual fundraiser (e.g., an organization that supports breast cancer survivors having an annual gala in October). It’s also smack-dab in the middle of many organizations’ year-end campaigns which may account for up to 30% of the annual budget. And some communities have begun organizing their own giving days which tend to overshadow the national giving day.
REASON #2: PREVIOUSLY DASHED HOPES
When Facebook and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation began offering matching funds to nonprofits raising money on the social media platform, MANY nonprofits hopped on the bandwagon to raise double the funds for their organizations. Sadly, we all learned that the matching funds were gone within an hour (usually less) with much of the funding going to LARGE organizations. This disappointing experience left many with a bitter taste in their mouths since they had worked so hard at getting the word out.
REASON #3: FODF (FEAR OF DONOR FATIGUE) — Especially during this pandemic.
The bottom line is that nonprofit leaders are keenly aware of when and how they ask for your support, and they’re afraid of over-asking. They don’t want to appear greedy, even though they need the money to move their missions forward. How many times can you ask the same person for money before it becomes awkward?
What’s a Nonprofit to Do?
#GivingTuesday will be widely promoted whether individual nonprofits actively participate or not. The fact is #GivingTuesday has become one of the largest philanthropic days of the year, and it’s on a growth trend. Every donation matters.
I think all nonprofits should participate in the day. Regardless of their size, it makes no sense to leave money on the table when many people plan to give the day after Cyber Monday.
In the Nonprofit Leadership Lab, we have encouraged nonprofit leaders to talk with major donors and their boards to secure their own matching funds. That way, when people donate, their donations are doubled or tripled with no reliance on the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s match.
Why I Give on #GivingTuesday
On #GivingTuesday, I like to make a bunch of small donations to a variety of nonprofits addressing issues about which I am passionate. I do it because (1) every little bit helps; (2) it’s encouraging to the nonprofit leaders to see donations come in on #GivingTuesday; (3) it puts me on the organization’s email list; and (4) joining forces with other donors to make a positive difference in the world just plain feels good.
Imagine what a huge difference we could make if everyone made a small donation to the causes they care about.
And while I am not a huge fan of email, I do appreciate being added to nonprofit organizations’ email lists. I don’t read every word of every email, but being on their email list gives me a front-row seat to watch them in action throughout the year, and this helps me make a more informed decision about who to support with bigger donations.
I challenge you to give a little something to at least one organization before midnight this #GivingTuesday, and if you can give more, please do it. Don’t wait. Not only will your donation be greatly appreciated, it could be doubled or tripled! Every little bit helps. Really. Especially now.
* This article was originally posted on December 3, 2019. It’s been updated for the December 2020 #GivingTuesday.
Have you ever wondered if your words or actions are racist? Are you sure they aren’t? Is claiming “I’m not racist!” enough? Can a person protect and promote systemic racism without even realizing it? Is ignorance a good excuse?
Recently, one of my friends inquired as to why I am suddenly so passionate about racism in America—she didn’t say “suddenly,” but it does feel that way. I’ve gone my entire adult life assuming I was an ally, but I’m not sure that’s true. The more I learn, the more I wonder if I’ve actually enabled and supported systems designed to hold back and oppress people of color.
I officially stepped into the conversation about white privilege in 2016 when I joined the Be the Bridge to Racial Reconciliation Facebook group. When a white person joins the group, s/he agrees to remain silent and listen for three months. Not only are you prohibited from posting in the group, you’re also prohibited from commenting on other folks’ posts. Violation of this rule gets you banned from the group. It’s a good and important rule.
Silence Forced Me to Listen and Learn
The silent rule forced me into the role of student, not teacher. It required me to keep my mouth shut (and my fingers off the keyboard) when my first inclination was to chime in and offer advice/feedback/input while unwittingly minimizing other members’ experiences.
Waking up to white privilege and systemic racism has been hard, and I would not have made it this far without the encouragement of friends and mentors who encouraged me to listen to people who are different than I am.
By expanding the circle of authors I read, speakers I listen to, and people I follow on social media, I’ve become much more aware of the ways I subconsciously participate in an inherited, stratified system which over-values whiteness, oppresses the poor, and dehumanizes the different.
Debating the existence and effects of racism in America is uncomfortable for many white folks like me, and it’s tempting to turn a blind eye to the problem. To change the channel. To click over to another page. To look away before making eye contact. To walk on the other side of the street.
But, if you’re able to ignore (or deny) the problem of racism, then—whether you realize it or not—you are exercising white privilege. People of color don’t have that option. They can’t ignore it or deny its existence. It’s in their face every day. All day.
With white privilege comes much responsibility.
So, I’m determined to learn about my own hidden biases despite how opening my eyes and looking in the mirror makes me feel. I want to be a woman who elevates the voices and lives of those who have struggled to be seen and heard for far too long. I will be a catalyst for difficult conversations between white adults who need to join me on this journey of waking up. I want to be an ally. And being an ally requires diligence and re-education..
In this compelling and insightful book, Tatum documents the experiences of people of color in public schools and many other public spaces. “People of Color” or POC is the term used to refer to African Americans, Asian Americans, Latinx Americans, Native Americans, Pacific Island Americans, and others of non-European descent.
The author shares the story of a young black student who is the target of a racist comment by one of her teachers. When the student shares her experience—the comment and how it affected her—with her best friend who is white, she is further-traumatized when her friend dismisses the comment by saying something like “Oh, he didn’t mean it that way. He’s not a racist.” THAT’S why Be the Bridge has the “3-months of silence” rule for new white members. It’s like they knew that we needed to spend some time listening without the opportunity to minimize and further traumatize brothers and sisters of color. Smart.
Learning to keep my mouth shut is probably going to be a lifelong process for me. The first month of silence was hard: I had not yet realized I was the stereotypical white girl who wanted to fix all the things. The second month of silence was a bit easier. By third month, I understood how very little I had to contribute to the conversation and how my words could easily have the opposite effect of what I was hoping to say. And I don’t post very much in that group at all. They have opened my eyes to what life is often like for people of color in this country.
I’m appalled at the ignorance and racism so many exhibit on a regular basis. I’m determined NOT to be a part of it.
How I am waking up…
Over the next few months, I’m going to detail my ongoing journey to “wokeness” (I have NOT arrived), because it’s just way too much to include in one blog post. I invite you to join me in conversation as I share my own personal experiences with people of color—both traumatic childhood experiences that shaped my view and adult friends and mentors who have helped—and are still helping—me figure out how to be an ally, not an adversary.
I will share websites, podcasts, books (and audiobooks), social media feeds, and other resources that are helping me understand white privilege in America and how that lines up (or not) with the good news of Jesus Christ.
I am not an expert on racial reconciliation, and I have no solutions to offer. All I can do is invite you to join me on the journey. Your job, should you choose to accept it, is not to evaluate my journey but to humbly examine your own. The challenge is to take a long, hard look at your words, actions, and attitudes with an open mind, and if you see something that needs to be changed, you commit to changing it.
The goal: Be more like Jesus.
Are you in? Comment below if you’re up for the challenge.