We find the doctrine of alms giving taught and the act thereof generally encouraged as virtuous in several parts of the Holy Scriptures (such as James 2:15-16) – that this work of charity is even more glorious when done to them of the house of faith (Galatians 6:10) . Now while the concept of group collections (best known as crowdfunding) is commonly adopted for secular causes, we find the same essentially fulfilled in the Holy Scriptures when a collection was made for poor saints in Jerusalem (Romans 15:26) . A account which therefore had to mark the foundation upon which all crowdfunding platforms touted as Christian-based were to be built upon. A means to communicate a saint’s needy situation to fellow saints who may then (in Christian liberality) consider group-collecting for the same.
And I am equally convinced that if the Apostle Paul had lived in a digital age such as this, that it is likely that the said collection could indeed have been done (partly or entirely) electronically and that by several more Churches that Paul knew as pious at the time. However, despite that this ‘Christian crowdfunding’ phenomenon thus appear to maintain an evangelical position, it is not immune from being done wrong. So wrong that the core purpose thereof gets lost – especially when done online.
And below I mean to go through popular online crowdfunding platforms touted as Christian-based from a Protestant’s stand point. To try and review every material attribute of each (when looked upon in light of evangelical Christianity). Amongst which I purpose to tell what I find to be the evident classification of each platform – whether catholic or protestant, tell what I reckon is the position of the officials of each platform in Christ, discuss the observable core marketing strategy used to publicize hosted help campaigns, point out possible danger of using each service (where I think any exist) and lastly advise whether or not I think each is worth an evangelical Christian’s consideration. All this mainly for the use of saints looking to give or avail relief from need in a God-honorable manner, online.
I wish not to dwell distinctively on platform structure and features because while these can indeed be custom built, they can often be purchased ready built. And therefore without information on who custom-built theirs and who did not, credits may be unjustly given or withheld. Fortunately, the attribute of a complementary built platform should depend entirely on the piety of its forerunners (the officials) – which subject I intend to cover amongst others. Essentially the same goes for fees – I do not think it matters whether fees are levied or not as long as a God-justifiable reason exist behind the resolution.
Introduction: The GiveSenGo platform was incepted in 2015 and appears to have the highest user base as well as activity. Which must explain why they were led to settle for the logo tagline: #1 Free Christian crowdfunding site . Unfortunately, seeing that every work type that names the name of the Lord is to be ideally viewed as a ministry and not business (though its activities may warrant it), there had been no need to thus speak – especially since such speech abides in emulation. Yes no sooner can they say this than they can say they are the best Church in the world – essentially suggesting that Christ is indeed divided. This is even more aggravated by the fact that their service is not available in all countries – making it even more inappropriate to thus claim.
Classification: While not stated explicitly, the platform appears to assume a catholic class (or sad still, hybrid). Hosting campaigns that directly promote Catholicism . Of cause heretic deviations may still exist among protestants. Which is why all Gospel related campaigns would still need be reviewed for evangelical orthodoxy prior to publication even when submissions could be from protestant individuals only.
Officials’ Piety: Given the above noted classification, I must accuse this platform’s officials of being void of evangelical discretion. As they implicitly condone the multiple catholic errors and therefore cannot be worthy of any esteem for evangelical virtue. While it might be great for business and perhaps counted as kindness by some, failure to take a stand against material heresies such as those of the Catholics must spell spiritual bankruptcy from an evangelical standpoint.
Marketing: As with secular crowdfunding platforms, the GiveSendGo platform adopts the social sharing strategy for an edge to promoting campaigns. The issue with this within the biblical Christian sphere is: since folks on social media hardly keep Christians only (let alone evangelical ones) for friends/followers, sharing a campaign on there means you are soliciting help from every friend or follower – including those that may at the time have nothing to do with the God or Christ you may have gone on and on about on your help campaign description. Who may still give because you are their friend and that you petitioned it of them.
Does not that constitute spiritual bankruptcy – even that of base faith and the knowledge of God? What business does a infidel have in helping with the financing of the work of God – or have God’s hand waxed shot to help his own? Might not these non-believers think themselves accepted by your God because they have given towards the cause of his work at your petitioning? I come across feeble statements like : If every single one of my Facebook friends gave $2 a month I would be completely funded.
Kindly show me a man that has only ‘evangelical Christians’ friends on Facebook and I should show you a man who can potentially share their help campaign on the same social platform. Or shall you consider disclaiming as you thus share your campaign on social medias, that only those that love the Lord in true are legible to give and non else? I personally do not find secular social medias to be of evangelical value and find it even more loathsome when they are adopted for the promotion of Gospel related work (with the exception of evangelism efforts).
Dangers inherent: With officials thus void of evangelical capability, the fear is that the platform should be vulnerable to multiple material oversights. One of which should be a platform that is presented in manner that makes no effort to evade possibly vile gifts as noted above (the likes of givers who know not the Lord, those that ignorantly profess the Christian faith, those that are heretic still or those who’s sources of funds are of themselves simply abominable – such as abortion nurses and doctors.
When done right indeed, Christian charity collections are to be carried out amongst saints who are sound in faith and doctrine – who must consequently ensure they earn and bring clean gifts. Again kindly show me a pastor who gladly make or receive church collections from both members and visitors without making efforts to ascertain especially visitors that offerings are only reward-worthy if done from a repeated heart that loves the Lord in truth, and I should show you a man that is not worthy of stewardship.
Every individual giving towards the cause of the Lord must be ascertained that their giving shall be in vain except their hearts be truly reconciled – lest they think their gifts should commend them as righteous before God. And knowingly or neglectfully accepting any gift given in the name of Christian liberality, without thus ascertaining the giver, must be grievous evil worthy of punishment. And the concern is the same for funds from vile sources.
Verdict: I would not recommend that evangelical Christians knowingly use evidently compromised platforms such as this lest it be for their peace or souls. While much must likely exist, the concern of being possible funded/relieved with vile funds is material and should be blame worthy before the LORD and his Christ (where ignorance or neglect is found).
This platform was acquired by GiveSendGo and therefore must now share the same position. Yes I in fact fear they must have been no more evangelical than their now parent company or they would not have permitted the acquirement, given all allegations laid against the GiveSendGo platform.
This platform has seemingly ceased from operations and therefore should not be application anymore for reviewing.
This platform was operating when I first encountered it several months back (as I sought to avail funding particularly for the likeChrist Ministries’ kids work). However services remain suspended for weeks (if not months) now. I appreciated the idea of access control with this platform – having to submit access request prior to publishing one’s needy cause. And the language spoken on its landing page seemed to be the same as the one my inner speaks – even that of the redeemed. Quoting Jim Elliot’s: He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.
The aggregate of which had me submitting an access request – as the hunt for a worthy platform from which to try and raise ministry funds continued. Unfortunately, I got no reply – neither of acceptance nor of rejection (let alone the reason). Something I found quite uncharitable.
I however thought I could then understand when I was finally introduced to one of platform's co-founders from its Twitter page (I do no use Twitter myself). After going through his profile details, I suddenly feared he might not have been as worthy for the work as I may have thought (though I still wondered how he could at the same time have relished the virtuous quote above). Well the number one piece of information that brought me to this fear was the fact that he seemingly could still identify himself with a certain secular music and book distribution service he co-founded as well as worked for in the past – something I would rather he be ashamed of. From the information I got, he holds programming qualifications or something similar – likely suggesting that if he is indeed evangelical, that then he may possibly have been drawn to a web-based ministry much earlier than he may have been fit to serve. Unless of cause if these allegations can of him be accounted for otherwise.
But the service as said is currently suspended and the site essentially inaccessible (except through the wayback machine). It therefore may not be applicable to dwell much on it until it should resume operations as suggested by the note on the landing page (at the time of this writing).
Introduction: This platform says to have come into being (around 2017 it seems) in response to certain persecuted bakers (2015) who were then fund-raised for on the GoFundMe platform. Which thriving campaign was later censored and taken down by the platform’s officials. Of cause I personally feel the individuals behind the said campaign had no business carrying group-collections on a secular platform in the first place – due to the same concerns of lurking vile money and limitations around evading the same. And that evangelical Christendom did indeed need to setup and host their own version of online group-collections platform. Especial given that the work type appears to have a scriptural backing.
Classification: While not explicitly declared, I am moved to assert but only to a limited degree that the InHisSteps platform may have in itself the savory of Protestantism. But of cause unless stating plainly, men are left to assume and suppose on the platform’s behalf. And therefore catholic based causes may still be submitted – and if not explicit on their intents, may still see approval even if the platform indeed means to have nothing to do with that class. So can unsuspecting givers who are thus heretic give to hosted campaigns simply because they find them naming the same Christ they also name (though only in part together with Mary). Due to the platform’s failure to thus class themselves.
Officials’ Piety: Despite that they seem thus hopeful, the InHisSteps officials prove to be yet babes (if indeed evangelical) and therefore unworthy to teach/minister unfortunately. And the following are allegations I am moved to lay against the them:
- Careless over imagery featured on campaigns. Yes campaigns with images of sensual or lewdly clothed men and women goes past them and onto the public eyes. As I write, the latest campaign hosted features a collated image of scenes with a shirtless male on one part and on another part, the same male seemingly with wife and children in a swimming pool environment. Another such campaign image features a youthful female in a plain shorts amongst other shameful items that some of those she stood with wore.
- They also approve and host campaigns of ministry attempts by seemingly unlearned youth. Campaigns on clearly vain causes as well as those on causes that could be potentially heretic – requiring thorough scrutiny prior to publication. I visited the official URL of the Christian search engine on the latter referenced campaign and found it selling secular and well as catholic ads.
- Also, the platform does not appear to have automated campaign-ending options (such as a preset date or if the total amount requested is received). Resulting in campaigns remaining active (able to be given to) long after the applicable period may had lapsed (was valid for 2017 Summer) – or the required amount reached . Of cause the nature of some campaigns may be such that they have no need to end but many others does). And receiving funds when the cause has been long invalidated must be hideous crime. Every campaign set to endless must be reviewed for justification by the platform’s officials for possible discrepancies. As well as being ever vigilant over all others and make end-method recommendations where necessary.
- I am in favour of a ‘Praying’ button on the campaign page that can be clicked by as many who take time out to pray about the cause under-requested but I do not find a word for word prayer posting evangelical since such is for heaven’s use and not man.
- Also, I would expect donors to remain anonymous in a perfect evangelical setup (they may of cause be identifiable to the admins). However InHisSteps not only have names public but includes giver’s locations. A practice that is evidently contrary to the bidding of the Lord that says: But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth.
If they should maintain that all these are not hideous crimes, then shall I have to maintain even the more that they cannot be worthy of ministry – nor business that names the name of the Lord.
With all this said, it is of cause possible where the Lord will grant that lacking officials step down in favour of those who should be able to lead the work in the more hopeful manner. I say grant because the Lord may at times consider the work so ill-founded that he may judge it best that it ceases completely.
Marketing: With the above noted allegations relating to the position of the officials, it is not too surprising that this platform as well relies heavily on social media (Facebook) sharing strategy for publicizing help campaigns. Arguments on why I consider social media publicizing of campaigns evangelically inappropriate may be seen under the GiveSendGo marketing section of this review.
Dangers inherent: While the platform was by me found thus hopeful, the major dangers inherent in using it with these ongoing allegations should essentially be the same as that noted under the GiveSendGo coverage of the review. That is the lurking of vile gifts or givers on the platform. No, no directs efforts are made to deter these by the platform either (as per my assessment). The contrary is indirectly evident – looking at the overall platform structure.
Verdict: Until the noted allegations should be accounted for, I cannot recommend that evangelical Christians looking to give or avail God-honorable relief use the platform unfortunately – despite the little hope expressed over the same. Especially since I fear it may not be in the current officials to can perceive these concerns. No, not until they should go and further seat at the Lord’s feet longer – even until he should of himself deploy them into his work.
Introduction: WonderWe tout itself as the #1 crowdfunding platform for faith, family, and friends – another business-like talk noted from the GiveSendGo platform. Unfortunately, except for the word ‘faith’ (which can be broad – including non Christian beliefs) on the above quoted statement, WonderWe essentially makes no explicit claims of being a Christian-based platform. In fact when analyzing the same statement, it is clear that faith is just part of two others that seemingly could stand independently .
Classification: As stated above, hardly much is said of WonderWe themselves of their religious classification. However going through some of their hosted help requests quickly shed some needed light. While I cannot conclude that they are catholic, WonderWe host several campaigns that directly promote or celebrate catholic assertions. Such as 'the lady of our angels' missions' . This meaning that, even if they may deny this supposed classification, that they can already be rightfully alleged of directly or neglectfully condoning the catholic heresy.
Officials’ Piety: From the above noted facts, a conclusion can be safely drawn that WonderWe officials cannot be expected to be of any worthy evangelical virtue.
Marketing: As it can then be rightly expected of them given all that has been noted so far, WonderWe uses Facebook and Whatsapp shares for campaign publicizing. The evangelical concern on this may be best seen from the GiveSendGo Marketing section of this review.
Dangers inherent: Together with several possible others, needy Christians campaigning on this platform should be in danger of being funded with vile money – of the ignorant, godless and the heretic. Essentially the same concern expressed with platforms already reviewed (in depth) above.
Verdict: I would not recommend that biblical Christians knowingly use this platform either, for holiness’ sake – again lest it be for their peace or souls.
This platform is still running yet somewhat inactive from both users as well as the officials (at the time of the writing). In fact it seems it hosted a total of 3 campaigns since inception (probably 2013 April) – with no active campaign at the time of this writing. Evidently another work that was ill-founded – not because of lowish results as this is never the best benchmark if used in isolation. Instead it is in considering the route taken by the founder(s) to try and get the work in the way – using the bankrupt Facebook page likes and shares. Which I find coarse as argued under the GiveSendGo Marketing section of the review.
While I think they did operate a “Christian-based” crowdfunding platform, it seems it was eventually discontinued. Invalidating the need to be expended on the review thereof – above the fact that there should likely be next to no accessible information by now to based arguments on.
Introduction: WayGiver says: …our mission is to bring the benefits of crowdfunding into the Church. A statement that is, though could be improved, sounded quite hopeful. An assumed position that must be a lot better than that of WonderWe. I must note however that I do not find the name ‘WayGiver’ evangelically temperate especially when considering the fact that it to be God who gives all that we then give with – lest men should boast. I reckon a name such as GoodSteward, etc had better commended the individual(s) behind the work.
Classification: WayGiver have no explicit statement (to my findings) on whether they class themselves as Catholics or Protestants. Perhaps they have reckoned it unnecessary given their answer to their FAQ: Do I have to be a Christian to use WayGiver? Which states: No. We do not discriminate based on a person’s religious beliefs. While they of cause continue to disclaim that they are however selective on campaigns they publish, this answer appears to welcome all giver-types (including Catholics). Yes for this answer I would wish the question had been something like: Do I have to be a Christian to campaign on WayGiver?
Also, while it is indeed commendable to relieve needy infidels (including the heretic – particularly with necessities), blindly giving to them is never wisdom given the possibility of dishonesty, evil use and misrepresentation. Also, while we would like to grab every opportunity of giving to non-believers who are truly poor (the heretic included), there are many secular platforms that already compete for them.
As for catering for those that may come across our platform first, the best that can be done is to put in place a smart system that should be used to try and ascertain their claimed needs prior to giving lest we give in vain (liberality that is not worthy of God’s honor). Else we must insist that relief-requests for non-believers in need be submitted by believers who know them personally (on their behalf).
Officials’ Piety: If they indeed are earnest Christians, then I must, as with InHisSteps, conclude this platform’s officials to be yet babes not worthy to minister – looking at level of service omissions notable. Yes despite that they at times speak quite hopeful including statements like: We are selective as to what organizations we work with and what type of fundraiser we will allow, WayGiver is found approving campaigns on highly controversial subjects – such as Christian rock music/videos (whereon one particular rock band member appeared wearing a tattoo on the arm amongst other multiple outward vanities and lewd noted).
Again as with InHisSteps, WayGiver also publish campaigns that shows great carelessness over imagery used as featured on campaigns. Yes campaigns were noted that bore images of scenes featuring youthful females in sensual tight fits or plain shorts ). Basic oversights such as which must sadly be sure signs of officials that cannot be looked upon for any true evangelical virtue.
As well, campaigns are found to remain active even long after its applicable period has lapsed. Here is a sample campaign that was for a 05/2017 event that remains running to date (10/2019). If a campaigner will not come back to terminate (provided this is provisioned for) after the applicable period has lapsed, the platform’s admins should be able to step and take applicable actions.
Unfortunately, when a minister is found unfit for work, the noblest route to take as an earnest steward is to cease ministering and retire to bible studying as well as the prayer closet. Yes he very well may be replaced by a worthier candidate if the Lord will grant – else the work at large must cease. No praying for him to divinely get fit overnight is never a valid option from what I have learned – for this is not how God ordained for ministry.
Marketing: As with several of those I find to substantially miss the virtuous mark of evangelical Christian group-collections, the WayGiver platform uses Facebook sharing as a major marketing means for hosted campaigns. In fact social media sharing is part of what they understand to constitute athe concept of crowdfunding as per their definition . Which while probably is true, I expect should ever apply only to secular crowdfunding environments. Yes this is one of the areas that needed to draw a line between secular crowdfunding and biblical Christian group-collections looking to fulfill the Romans verse referenced to above. More on why I consider social media marketing as spiritual bankruptcy may be seen under the GiveSendGo marketing section of the review.
Dangers inherent: As with all other cases of officials that prove to be materially compromised, the main danger remains one. The platform is often setup in a manner that directly or otherwise welcomes potentially vile money. Saints hosting their help request campaigns with WayGiver therefore runs the risk of being funded or relieved with vile money. And givers run the risk of giving to non-credible or misrepresented causes – which must lessen the overall impact of their work of charity.
Verdict: As with InHisSteps, WayGiver appeared a little to have an evangelical savory. However noted omissions are so significant that I cannot recommend their use to saints looking to avail relief or give in an evangelical manner online.
From all the allegations laid against crowdfunding platform touted as Christian-based, evangelical Christians who have eyes should be able perceive how plain secular crowdfunding platforms should never even be an option for looking to appeal form alms – who must seek to ever make certain that they are relieved or funded with God-honorable money. Making it unnecessary to dwell their reviewing. The sad likes of Kickstarter, GoFundMe, Indiegogo, Bornfire, Fundly, PlumFund, etc.
And as all saints must, I assert that the time is short and remains that only that which must be done should be done. I therefore would have no business undertaking this Alms platform had I found a worthy Christian group-collections platform amongst the encountered – yes all I wished for was to raise needed funds mainly for the likeChrist’s kids sub-ministries. And while thus failing to find worthy platforms from the existing, I felt this was amongst others a service that could add true value to the earthly pilgrimage of the people of God (who are adopted through Christ Jesus their Lord).
Amongst other necessary virtues, the Alms platforms aims to shun very well away from all pitfalls noted on above reviewed platforms – regardless of whether doing so should be for its popularity or disrepute. Christian professors who do not see aught wrong with the raised grievances are more than welcome to continue giving or campaigning for help on any platform of their choosing. Particularly since evangelical Christian charity requires that it be done in faith.
O for more of the LORD’s mercies!