Little known fact: I know why a high school friend’s mom stopped giving to UNICEF.
These are the things that happen when you raise support for a living. There’s a switch inside of some folks’ mind that gets triggered, and they immediately dump every financial fact they can find about their current situation on you.
“Oh, you’re looking for money? I gave 35 bucks to my kid’s chorus group from church, and then they came back asking for more, so I gave a little bit more. And also I support three kids in Uganda with Compassion and one Chilean refugee who lives with my neighbor’s ex-wife. It’s a long story.”
Yeah, I’m good without the long version. Thanks.*
It’s especially fun to meet with someone who has a ginormous income when I trip the “financial fact-dump” trigger. Then I get dollar amounts that my brain is incapable of wrapping itself around. “We are giving $7,000 per month to a missionary in Niger, and another $13,000 to the Blood Water Mission, helping get clean water to folks around the world.”
Right. So, I have to ask–is there another $13,000 available for the taking? Because that would seriously rock.
But you never get the financial fact-dump before a good punch line. It’d be awesome if somebody followed “I just got into a venture capital project helping build laptops for third-world children” with “and I’ve still got $500 per month in expendable income, so I’d love to give it to you.” But that doesn’t happen. Unless you are writing about it in a blog. Here are the categories of fact-dump I’ve experienced, but never with a “we’d love to contribute to your ministry” ending:
“We’ve gotten 3 calls from debt collectors in the last 45 minutes. That’s why I cussed at you before you told me who you were. Last month our faces were pixelated on the series “Repo Man” when he was here to take away our fishing boat. My son LeeRoy is still in the boat. Literally, still chained to the boat’s steering wheel in the impound lot. I’ve got to hang up now to take him his Chef Boyardee.”
“Last week I got my lawyer’s bill from the small claims court I went to last year. I owe the lawyer $2500 and he wasn’t even able to get my money back from that weed-eater repairman. I’ve got to go buy a Husqvarna now, because I am trying to put the local Stihl dealer out of business. I ran a full page ad in the local circular telling my story. He charged me $393.42 for a wing-nut and some duct tape.”
“I am so excited to help you out, but we are supporting 33 YWAM missionaries and 2 MTW couples, in addition to the tithe to our local church and the local Habitat for Humanity. My husband is also on the board of directors at the local pregnancy center. And have you heard of Chains of Freedom? It’s an interdenominational rescue mission for abused puppies. We’ve given to them for 13 years.”
Someday, I’ll hit the big time, and have someone tell me all about their financial life right before they decide to give me lots of money. But in the meantime, you’ve gotta help: which category did I miss?
*Just kidding. I actually don’t mind getting the long version, I just find it peculiar (and fun) that people choose to dump facts on me when explaining why not to give. It does give me a great way to encourage them, though: If somebody tells me that they already support a missionary, I always encourage them to increase their giving to that missionary if at all possible, even if that means they can’t support me.