Ask and you shall receive. That’s our new motto anways. Two years ago Girl Ninja and I had to do one of the hardest things we’ve ever done; Ask our friends/family for money. We volunteer for a high school ministry here in San Diego called Young Life. Most of the kids we’ve gotten to know over the last few years, come from low income (I’m talking like REALLY poor) families. Every winter, we try and take a group of kids to camp in Utah for a five day snowboard/ski trip. Can you believe the majority of these kids have never seen snow!
Most of the kids that come to Young Life want to go on the trip, the only problem is they can’t afford it. Throughout the year we’ll host fund raising events like car washes, selling raffle tickets, auctions, etc hoping to raise enough funds to reduce the cost of camp to a more reasonable level, like $100.
Two years ago, after some pretty unsuccessful fund raising campaigns, us leaders decided to reach out to family and friends and try and raise a little more. Here’s how a typical phone conversation went…
Me: Hey mom.
Mom: Hey Ninja, my most favorite child of all time, what’s going on?
Me: Well I’m calling to see if you think you and Dad Ninja could sponsor a kid to Young Life camp.
Mom: We would love to sponsor a kid.
Mom: No problem son. Dad Ninja and I think you are the most wonderful son in the world. We are honored to be called your parents.
Asking my parents for money was easy. It’s my parents, I knew that I could pretty much guilt them in to supporting me. It was having to reach out to my friends that freaked me out a little bit. How was I suppose to ask my friends to donate money to kids they’ve never even met? Thankfully, I have some pretty awesome friends, and just about every one of them was able to provide at least some financial support to our area.
Girl Ninja and I learned a lot that day and are glad we went through the experience of asking people for money (although we hope we don’t have to do it again anytime soon). We now know what it’s like, and we feel better prepared to help those that ask us for help.
It’s for this reason, we’ve decided to ALWAYS give money to friends and family when asked for charitable contributions. We know it isn’t easy for them to ask us, so the least we could do is help them out.
– Friend raising money for a breast cancer walk? Give ’em money.
– Friend’s kid selling candy bars to raise money for a school trip? We’ll buy a box.
– Friend trying to provide clean water to people in another country? Count us in!
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying we’ll donate to every solicitation we receive (especially any annoying mailers). But what we will do is SUPPORT those that are close to us. We see this “rule” as a friendly (pun intended) reminder to be generous with the income we’ve been given.
Have you ever been asked (by a friend or family member) to donate/sponsor/give to an organization or charity? Did you do it? Do you buy lemonade from the local neighborhood kids that set up their stands in the summer? What giving/donating guidelines do you operate by?