There are many poverty organizations tackling the causes and results of poverty around the world. These organizations focus on different missions and purposes. While the basic definition of extreme poverty is earning less than $1.90 a day,1 the economic definition is only a portion of the equation. Many organizations that help poverty also help people overcome spiritual poverty, educational poverty and generational poverty to name just a few.
What should you investigate when considering which poverty organizations to support?
Here are some questions to ask, followed by GFA World’s response as an example of how a poverty relief organization might respond:
In what regions of the world does the organization work?
Do I have a heart for a particular region of the world? Do I want to support a poverty organization near me?
Consider whether you’d like to support organizations that help with poverty in your local community or one that concentrates on a specific region of the world.
GFA World’s answer: For the past 40 years, we have worked in a dozen South Asian countries, making a tremendous difference in hundreds of communities. We have recently begun working in Rwanda and we have plans to begin ministry in several other African countries in the next few years.
What aspect or aspects of poverty does the organization seek to alleviate?
There are numerous aspects to poverty. Some organizations focus on food distribution, while others prioritize education, clean water accessibility, literacy programs, medical initiatives, community partnerships, and so on.
GFA World’s answer: We have a holistic approach to poverty alleviation. We work with local pastors to meet the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of the neediest people in the communities in which we work. We accomplish this through clean water projects, community development, child sponsorship, literacy programs, medical initiatives, widow care, and more.
Does the organization work with adults or children?
Some organizations work primarily with children, while others focus on families, adults, elderly people, disabled individuals, etc. If your interests focus on one specific demographic, consider asking this important question.
At GFA World, we focus on various demographics. Our child sponsorship program helps children, families and communities in need through community-wide solutions like opportunities for education, clean water, efforts against malnutrition and more. Our literacy program concentrates on adult women; however, men are included in some of our literacy programs. Two other people groups we help are those suffering from leprosy and those who have been widowed. Our clean water initiatives are freely available to entire villages and communities.
Where does the money go?
A very important question to ask is where the money will be used. Any organization should be able to give you a detailed answer regarding their financial stewardship.
At GFA World, we have a wide variety of programs and partnerships around the world. When you give to GFA World, you effectuate lasting development in numerous communities in the developing world. Our projects include clean water projects, child sponsorship, national worker sponsorship, and more.
Gospel for Asia is dedicated to the most effective and efficient stewardship of resources. Contributions to GFA are income tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law. All gift options represent GFA’s actual ministry efforts to meet the diverse needs of individuals and communities. Regardless of particular preferences, moneys are raised for ministry purposes, and GFA retains discretion to use donated funds in any manner that serves our charitable objectives.
Here’s how to donate to poverty organizations.
Who does the work on the ground?
Does the organization send workers to the location or does the organization train locals to help the poor?
GFA World uses national missionaries, living in Asia or Africa, to help people in their own nations. GFA national workers carry a passion for people to know that there is a God that loves them. These missionaries are trained and equipped to serve effectively no matter where their community is—a slum, a remote mountain community or an island village for leprosy patients or outcasts.
Because they were born and raised in the countries where they serve, they have few or no cultural barriers to overcome. That’s an enormous advantage, considering 85 percent of Asian countries do not allow Western missionaries to serve freely. National missionaries instinctively know the best ways to communicate the love of Jesus.
Are programs in place to ensure the work is sustainable?
What happens when the organization leaves an area? Does the progress that has been made start to crumble?
GFA workers are based in the areas in which they serve and remain long-term. When foreigners oftentimes have to leave, these national workers can stay and minister without interruption.
Selecting one of the many poverty organizations is a challenging decision, but with the right questions, the correct organization will rise above the rest.
1 Poverty and Shared Prosperity 2018: Piecing Together the Poverty Puzzle. The World Bank. www.worldbank.org/en/publication/poverty-and-shared-prosperity. 2018.