The other day as I checked Facebook in the early morning, I read this article and was aghast. I shot it off to my team in indignation. My boss quickly wrote back, “Isn’t this a joke site?”
But this article is funny because it’s true.
Like the woman who wants to trade her tired out, boring Roberto for a cuter, more exotic Thai girl, how many of us have somewhat self-serving attitudes when it comes to sponsorship?
I have to admit that when my husband and I chose our first sponsored child, we picked a child from India because:
(a) my husband likes Ravi Zacharias
(b) Indians are so good looking
Hey, you gotta choose somehow!
I have a co-worker (who shall remain unnamed) who says that the first time he sponsored a child, he picked up the child pack, read the bio and said,
“He’s perfect! Do you have him in blonde?”
He was quoting “The Simpsons,” but still.
Research on why people give to charitable causes is never very flattering to the donors. According to the study this article cites, when we give, we’re often not motivated by philanthropy or logic, but by our feelings. Namely, our desire to feel good about ourselves.
I’d like to think that over the years, I’ve evolved as a sponsor, that my giving has gone from self-focused to others-focused. But I still have to watch my motivations.
This year when giving Christmas gifts through a charitable catalog, I had to seriously ask myself what’s the purpose of sending the emails that say “Amber has given a gift in your name”— to pet my own ego or to raise awareness of the needs out there? A part of me knew it was a little of both.
One big problem with being motivated by our own feelings when helping others is the long-term effect it has on our giving. Like the woman who wanted to trade in her sponsored child, when we’re motivated by our own needs and feelings, we won’t be committed in the long-term.
We will be more concerned with what we want than what the child needs. We will become more focused on what we’re getting out of our sponsorship experience than on how it is helping the child.
How do you deal with this in your own life?
We are all human and can fall prey to our less-than-noble motivations so quickly and easily. How do you ensure that your giving and sponsorship are in response to the Holy Spirit’s nudging and not your own ego?