Adventures in Generosity

The occasionally coherent ramblings of a Stewardship Advisor in the Church of England

Investing or Giving ?

I’m in a quandry.

Other Half is a local councillor and as such is approached from time to time to get involved in all sorts of community action.  It’s one of the great priviledges of the job..

He’s just been sent some information on a new local charity that’s wanting to set up to support the education of children in the care of our local authority.  Starting with the little ones being provided with additional books and pre school support, the fund will aim to provide opportunities to keep cared for children in education as they grow up, and ultimatly support them with bursarys for university. A worthy cause indeed given that less than 4% of looked after children go on to higher education.

We’re being approached as ‘prominent local people’ (sorry, it makes me cringe too!) to become ‘founder donors’ of the new fund.

And there’s the rub.

When we decided to commit to planned regular giving we set up an account, some of the money goes every month to the same causes but we decided to keep some back so that we could give to special appeals when they happened, and we could support this, in fact would love to.


It has to be said that being a ‘founder donor’ of a charity that’s targetting the local great and the good would do no harm at all to OH’s political profile, especially when the basis of the appeal is that founder donors ‘will be invited to a special gala launch’.

SO …

Is is really a charitable gift? should we be using part of our Tithe, which after all is supposed to be sacrificial, or is it in fact an investment for us as much as for the charity ?

We could give anonymously.  There’s a thought, problem solved.


As a fundraiser I understand that for the charity, the fact that we are supporting it is as important (in fact probably more important) as the gift, and I know how I would feel as a fundraiser if an opportunity for raising the profile of my cause was lost because of pompous and abstract moralising.

I’m pretty much sold on the fund being a good idea, and I’m certain that I’d want to support it regardless of it’s political benefits for OH – am I deluding myself ? Am I just being a pompous arse ?  I just can’t shake the image of the rich bloke rattling up to the temple with trumpet fanfares, silently followed by that widow ….

Would really appreciate your thoughts.


  Neil wrote @

Don’t agonise over it.
It’s helpful for the charity to have you both on board.
You’ve established the need for some ‘set a side’ money.
No-one’s going to agonise over your involvement, or think you ‘pushy’.
The fact that you’re aware of the Shadow of the Widow, shows you’re not naive or showing off.
At a time when such stautory funding through local and national govt. are being cut back, your charity will make a difference; that’s the important thing.
MY only worry is that you’ll become part of the Big Society and play straight into Cameron’s hand.
But, hey the the kids are more important than him or Nick.

Go for it
Ah, you will…you will!

  jobeacroftmitchell wrote @

Thats the trouble with the Big Society – everyone who was already doing it is now worrying they’ll justify cuts, and people who weren’t doing it anyway still aren’t sure what it means.

I like the idea of community involvement in services, and certainly a lot of volunteer bodies had become way too dependant on govt funding over the last decade – but the incentives for true philanthropy aren’t there and can’t be funded either.

  Pam Smith wrote @

Sounds like a ‘win-win’ situation to me.

It also reminds me a bit of that Friends episode where Phoebe is trying to find a truly altruistic act but keeps falling down because she enjoys helping people!

  Kathryn wrote @

I have a similar (though perhaps less difficult) quandary at times; do I talk about the work I do volunteering at a local homeless shelter, or not? Won’t people think I am showing off, or just volunteering to advance my own reputation?

But when I do talk about it I show others that it is possible and that it is needed. If that helps someone else contribute more easily, either working with issues around homelessness or some other good cause, then I’m willing to run the risk that some people might think my motives aren’t pure.

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