Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Economy and Charitable Giving

It goes without saying that just about everyone knows our economy isn’t in a good place right now. People are putting off buying a home or purchasing a car and are trying to save as much as possible. So where does charitable giving fall into that mix?

Just about every charity director I know has told me that their donations are markedly down this year while requests for help are way up due to the harder financial times. One of our LWB volunteers works in a local food pantry once a week, and she told me that the number of families applying for services has doubled. As I speak to groups about helping orphaned children in China, more and more I am asked directly, “why should we help in China when so many people right here in the US are hurting now?”

I believe so fully that a child is a child is a child, no matter where they happened to be born, and that any child who is hurting deserves to be loved and helped. Children who are orphaned have a very special spot in my heart as well. During these hard times, I still recommend LWB enthusiastically to people as a charity to support because I know the dollars are going exactly where we say they are, because I know we produce results and change lives with those donations, and because I know our amazing volunteers are thanking donors and keeping them informed of how their donations are used. But I am wondering what the rest of the world is thinking.

In our current economic crisis, do you think each country needs to care for “their own” first and foremost? Or do you still support international giving? Has your family had to make the decision to not give as much this year due to shrinking 401Ks and job instability? Let us know your thoughts. And as always, let us know if we need to be doing anything different to show our gratitude. Every morning I get up and give thanks for everyone who chooses to make a difference in the lives of children in China. We absolutely couldn’t do it without you.

Amy Eldridge
Executive Director
Love Without Boundaries Foundation
“Hope and Healing for Children in Need”


  1. Amy. I totally agree with you. We are all God's children, no matter where we call home! We are brothers and sisters, called to take care of each other, even those we have never met before. Thank you for everything you do!

  2. Giving $$ to help a life is a gift back to yourself - a little like Pay it Forward....another life is made better and satisfaction that you've made a difference. Even $5.00 can make a difference!

  3. Hi Amy,

    I know giving should not have any boundaries, but under current economical condition, it is very difficult to expand the support basis in the U.S., which is completely understandable.

    That is why it is time for Chinese in China and U.S. to step up and make more contributions. I know there are many Chinese willing to support the orphans IF they know you exist.

    Maybe you can allocate some resources to contact local news media in China, preferably in big cities like Beijing and Shanghai, to give you interviews and post some advertisements on TV and newspapers. You may find some of them are willing to do it for free. In the mean time, with the help of your Chinese associates, you should be able to set up a web site for Chinese in China to donate.

    I can spread the words to Chinese communities that I can reach in the U.S., or post some advertisements on Chinese newspapers, and hopefully reach more people who are willing to give.

    Let me know how I can help.

  4. I definitely believe in international giving, as well as giving at home. We do both, and thought it is hard right now, we take our "giving money" off the top first and learn to live on what is left, it's been a way of life for us for a long time so we adapt quite well. I'm also a firm believer that every little bit helps.

  5. We have had to cut back on almost everything! But we will continue to sponsor a child in China. In addition, we will do what we can. We don't just give randomly to any charity that calls. Because of LWB's total volunteer approach/dedication to the children, we know that more will be accomplished with the few dollars we are able to give. Keep in mind that our current administration is doing everything possible to put charities out of "business" and make everyone depend on the governmenr for their needs. Imposing high taxation rates on charitable giving is going to bring it to a halt.

  6. This world is our "own". Caring for international needs are equally important as caring for America's needy. And, when we contribute to international programs our money goes further.
    Let's be honest, the vast majority of Americans have not lost their jobs and we can and must afford to continue our charitable giving or better yet, increase it. Charitable contributions should not be left for "excess money at the end of the month" We need to put charitable giving into our budget. If everyone gave 5% of their income, we would have enough $$$ to support all causes, American and international. Environmental causes, animal rights as well as human needs. If this means we have to cut our "entertainment budget (cable tv, dinners out, coffee or vacations) by 10% why not? I believe the "good feelings" derived from charitable giving is much greater than the benefits of entertainment. If, we truly can't afford our financial responsibilities and charitable giving monetarily, then we need to volunteer our services. FInally, shrinking 401k's are not a reason to turn our backs on the causes that we have supported in the past.

  7. I definitely support "International" giving even in these tough economic times. I feel supporting people less fortunate than ourselves is not a "patriotic" thing which should stay within the boundries of your own country. You should search your heart and give where ever God calls you to give. My husband's salary has been decreased by a significant amount this year due to being connected to the housing and car industry.
    Even with less monthy income we still tithe to our church first then give whatever we can to the charities God has put on our hearts, one being LWB. I do not need a thank-you. Gratitude to me is when I see the posts of the children in China having the surgeries they so desperately need or the school reports I get from my BIM sponsor child. Thank you LWB for making a difference in the lives of God's children China.

  8. We have adopted one daughter from China and are in process for our second - what you are saying is SO right on!

    On a side note - I design blogs as a way to help us earn some extra money for our second adoption - I would love to do a design for you for free - just as a gift for what you do. Contact me if you are interested.

  9. I am so thankful that we live in a country where parents with low incomes can get health care for their children who have life threatening conditions even if the parents can't pay for treatment themselves. This is not the case in China and many other countries around the world. Our family does not have a large income and with a little research, I was able to find organizations which would help pay for our daughter's medical needs that weren't covered by our insurance. The need in the U.S. now is great but the need in many other countries around the world is much greater. Reading stories on the LWB blog about families who had to make the choice between abandoning their children in the hopes that they might receive life saving medical treatment or watching their children die are unimaginable to me. I will continue to support charities that help the most needy children around the world.

    Another reason I choose to support charitable organizations in China is that China is now our country as well through the adoption of our daughter. I see our family as a Chinese American family and we can not forget the country where our daughter was born.

  10. Hi. I have to qualify what I'm going to say with the fact that I have a good job, am single and have no dependents. So, I have actually increased my giving at this time. I am also an American living in England so I have a different perspective sometimes. The economic crisis has not effected me in a negative way. I'm very fortunate. We all have to take care of our own but I do believe that what goes around comes around. Truly. No matter how bad off you think you are, unless you are truly homeless you're probably better off than much of the world. I'm not sure the exact statistic but I believe it's 1 in 6 believe live on less than a dollar a day. I've traveled to all 7 continents and seen people living in squallor. Like "anonymous" said, giving even $5.00 a month can do so much. Especially with a charity such as LWB. Giving makes me feel so good. I think sometimes I do it for myself!

  11. I'm a steward of the gifts God has given me. I am blessed to be able to share those gifts with others. My family hasn't changed our giving due to the changes in the economy as the needs of the children haven't changed. Thank you all so much for everything you do in China, I love getting the reports on the little girl I help to support!

  12. Thanks everyone for your comments. This has been a subject very much on my mind recently as I have had more and more people comment to me that they don't feel a need to give internationally any longer now that the US has so many needs. Two years ago if I talked to a group, people only focused on the fact that orphaned children were hurting and in need, and it didn't make any difference what country they were from. Now I have been directly challenged several times on why I feel a need to help outside of the US, which has really surprised me. I just don't feel there should be a boundary between countries when it comes to bringing hope to children, wherever they live. I also love that through our work, we can build friendships and understanding with people all over China. I have found that politics don't really matter when you are all working side by side to save the life of a baby.

  13. Our family gives 10% (plus) off the top of our income and live on what is left. We have learned that we ultimately reap the benefit of this. Our donations are spread over the entire world, from America to China to Africa. I don't know how the changes we see in the near future are going to affect our finances, but I do know that the 10% number will remain the same. Amy & others, I can only pray that people will continue to support your programs, regardless of the new laws and regulations. Where there is a will, there is a way.

  14. Yifan Tan and Busy Mama, if you read this can you email me privately? I would love to talk about your kind offers of help.