Sending a gift for disaster relief? Maximize your gift’s effectiveness with prudence

As I write today the images from Tacloban, Philippines, are unbelievable. Massive relief efforts are underway to assist those who survived the howling 200+ mph winds and the estimated 20-foot storm surge generated by super typhoon Haiyan. The death toll is rising.

We all have seen the images of thousands of survivors attempting to leave the area where water, food and medical assistance evaporated within a matter of hours after the storm. Yet, the roads and flights into Tacloban and other impacted areas are jammed with helpers from government, international and not-for-profit organizations.

As you will read in this issue of The Pathway, included among the relief workers are Southern Baptist Global Response (BGR) and Disaster Relief (DR) personnel. That includes our state missionary, Missouri DR Specialist Dwain Carter. He is part of the Rapid Advance Team that is trained to assess how Southern Baptist aid can best be utilized. DR white hat leader Mike Beasley from Trimble Baptist Church traveled along with Dwain with another set of eyes and ears on the ground. These guys and the other BGR leaders will determine where our aid and mobilized volunteers can go to maximize their work in the name of the Lord Jesus.

Because of your church’s support of the Cooperative Program, Missouri Baptists through the Southern Baptist Convention have a network in place to facilitate the delivery of aid directly to people facing such great loss. Your church’s generous giving to the Missouri Missions Offering gives us the readiness needed to be on the front lines of helping people with these disasters. In 2013, our Disaster Relief volunteers were mobilized 16 different times. That must be some kind of record.

Missouri Baptists are generous people, and many of you have already given to help the Filipino people. There are all kinds of appeals tugging at your heart. However, good stewardship demands that we be both generous and wise givers.

This week, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) posted an article, “What to ask about a charity … before you write a check.” The lead question was, “Do you want to make a difference?” Every follower wants to say, “Absolutely!” Then, the WSJ counseled its readers to not commit to any charity without performing due diligence.

Maximizing the effectiveness of our giving is a biblically sound principle. That’s why many Missouri Baptists have already given toward the Filipino disaster through the Missouri Baptist’s Disaster Relief Fund. There is accountability, and the infrastructure and overhead costs are taken care of through the Cooperative Program. Consequently, 100 percent of every dollar given to Disaster Relief goes directly to Disaster Relief.

In contrast, most charities cannot even begin to think in those kinds of terms because out of every dollar someone gives to help with a disaster, the organization removes a percentage for overhead costs. Because of the genius of the Cooperative Program, Southern Baptists and Missouri Baptists have a method in place so 100 percent of dollars given to disaster causes goes toward those causes.

“Pray, Give and Go” is the opportunity of Missouri Baptists in response to the Philippine disaster. Ask the Lord about your part and be faithful to His call.

Year-end Giving

As the end of another year is coming faster than a bug at the windshield of your pickup truck, you may find that the Lord is preparing your heart and finances with a special gift to your church, the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) or one of the MBC Great Commission ministries. As a matter of stewardship, you may find you need another tax deduction in 2013.

Consider a few ideas:

You can always give cash, but remember that your gift to your church or to MBC ministries must be postmarked no later than Dec. 31 to be counted in 2013.

You may have property. If you have CDs, stocks or bonds that are producing a poor return, why not make a gift of these low performing assets to your church or to an MBC ministry? You may also give real estate, art or other property.

If you are looking for income in the future, did you know that you can make a gift of property to fund a charitable gift annuity or a charitable remainder trust? Your property can be sold tax-exempt and you may receive income for the rest of your life. Even some of the income can be exempted from taxes.

There are other creative and legal year-end giving methods for Missouri Baptists. You are encouraged to visit with your pastor or call us at the MBC. We have resources to assist you. Call Spencer Hutson or Jerry Field at 573.619.0400.