Among the generous Catholics in our diocese and beyond, who has not at some point thought, “If one more group asks me for a donation … !” The requests to help meet the needs seem endless. Professional fundraisers even have a name for what you and I sometimes feel. They call it “donor fatigue.” Here are two thoughts about avoiding donor fatigue.
For people of faith, if we are frustrated by doing good, the problem is usually not with the good. The problem lies, rather, with the frustration. For example, after examining my desire to throw the next solicitor out into the darkness, I find that the problem is not with the solicitation itself, but with my limitations. I do not have time to read another mailing. I do not have the money to meet every need. I do not have the talent to do what they are asking. As people of faith, however, we are not limited. Sure, we do only what we can, God does not require that our charity make us poor. But we do trust that God will receive our gifts and multiply them. Take a moment to read in the Gospel of John, chapter 6, verses 1-13. Imagine in this situation that you are Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. Andrew’s impetuous generosity is not sufficient by any human standard, but when joined to the miracle of God’s grace, it is more than enough. The same is true for us.
We are not just any donors, supporting agendas, ideas or good works. We are donors united to the cross of Christ.
While God’s generosity helps us overcome fatigue, His wisdom helps us understand what it truly means to be a donor. In a secularized world, we can donate from what we don’t need or want, a personal surplus, and feel good about it. For people of faith, it goes much deeper. Once, after a long and ambitious capital campaign, a parishioner came to the office and asked, “Can we give more?” “Absolutely,” I chimed off, “just sign here before you change your mind.” But, when asked why, the parishioner offered what is now my favorite stewardship quote. She said, “Good. After a few months of making the payments, our family prayed about it and decided that it wasn’t hurting us enough yet.” We are not just any donors, supporting agendas, ideas or good works. We are donors united to the cross of Christ. We do have to do our homework and understand what are supporting. Caution goes a long way in avoiding scams, and if you have any questions, bring them to an authority in your community or church before giving. But in the end, our faith makes us realize that the recipients of our charity do us the greater favor. They give us a reason to sacrifice in the name of Jesus, who gave us everything, down to His final breath.
Fr. Father Woodrow Pace