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Playing favorites

A little research will help year-end giving

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We all have our favorites. Whether we’re talking about restaurants, college football teams, preachers, vacation resort sites, math teachers, novels, hospitals, or classical music composers, it’s just human nature—when someone mentions a particular category—for the rest of us to respond by naming our top choices, preferences, or loyalties.

Sometimes it’s a chance, and perhaps even silly, commitment. My zeal for the Atlanta Braves is rooted, truth be told, in the superficial fact that we both moved south in the mid-1960s. In the 50 years since then, I’ve attended no more than a dozen Braves’ games. I’m hardly what you’d call a really fanatic fan.

For other careful souls, though, such allegiance is justified only after some diligent homework. Your purchase of a homeowner’s insurance policy, for example, deserves a good bit more statistical analysis than you would typically invest in deciding which major league team to root for.

So here’s a challenge for you. Compile for yourself several lists of causes and/or enterprises you consider important in your personal scheme of things. This is a list that is uniquely your own. If “foreign missions” is important, list the several organizations you think are doing that work best. If “Christian education” is critical, list the several schools at various levels you think are most effective in carrying out their assignment. You might do the same with “relief for persecuted Christians,” “help for the poor,” “campus evangelism,” and so forth.

My suggestion: Pick the #1 organization in each category, give as generously as you possibly can to that #1, and leave the rest to someone else.

Now we come to a suggestion I’m hoping you’ll take absolutely seriously. I’m bold at this point to suggest that you add to these several lists a category you may not have put there before. Create a list of all those organizations you think of as “Christian newsmagazines”—or perhaps a little more broadly, “Christian news organizations.”

With all this paperwork in hand—some lists including only a name or two, and others perhaps surprisingly lengthy—do a quick but thoughtful ranking within each category. If you could give to only one college this year, which would it be? Put a #1 next to whichever you think is doing the best relief for the poor. Which is most effective in campus evangelism? Add another #1 for each and every category.

Is a sense of priorities emerging as you approach your own year-end giving season? If your mailbox is flooded over the next few weeks with appeals from Christian and quasi-Christian organizations seeking your support, won’t it be useful to have done a little “comparison shopping” along the way—sorting out the truly deserving from the also-rans? My suggestion: Pick the #1 organization in each category, give as generously as you possibly can to that #1, and leave the rest to someone else.

And yes, I’m well aware of the extent to which such advice puts WORLD News Group out on a limb. I realize that I’m asking you to rank us as your #1 provider of world news and news analysis—and then to support us accordingly.

That doesn’t mean, incidentally, that we think we should be your only information provider. But it does mean that if you had to rely on only one provider, you’d let the others go and lean heavily on WORLD. It means you’ve come to trust WORLD’s talented team of truth-tellers. With us, you are thankful that not once in our 30-year history have we had to back off and apologize for dishonest or misleading reporting. You think that such faithfulness deserves to be encouraged.

On one level, I would ask every single consumer and user of WORLD’s journalistic product to respond with an end-of-2017 gift that confirms this #1 role. An envelope is attached in our printed magazine (or you can click here to give online).

But just as I have done every year for as long as I can remember, I’m also calling here for a new cadre of supporters—perhaps 100 of you?—who will commit to give at least $5,000 to $10,000 a year for the next three years to sustain this kind of serious Christian journalism. Please send me a note to tell of your intent. For a wonderful few of you, that means you’re ready to match WORLD’s #1 style of handling the news with your own #1 style of stewardship.

Or, if you’ve found someone else who deserves that #1 spot, we’re intrigued to know who it might be—and why.

(To donate online quickly and securely, click here.)

Joel Belz

Joel Belz (1941–2024) was WORLD’s founder and a regular contributor of commentary for WORLD Magazine and WORLD Radio. He served as editor, publisher, and CEO for more than three decades at WORLD and was the author of Consider These Things.


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