“If you want to store up treasures in heaven, there are no better organizations to do it with.”
That’s how retired business executive Don Smith describes the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association of Canada (BGEAC), and its sister organization, Samaritan’s Purse Canada, when asked what advice he would give to Canadians who are contemplating where and how to make charitable donations.
“They’re organizations that have been built on prayer,” Smith says from his home in Spruce Grove, AB, near Edmonton. “They’re spirit-led, and they walk with God.”
He says BGEAC and Samaritan’s Purse are also “organizations that try to hide nothing. They’re open, and honest, and approachable. They have a proven track record that is reaching around the world.”
Don and his wife Jane made their first donations to BGEAC in 1995 and have continued supporting it every year since then—with increasing donation size and frequency. They are now monthly donors.
“We want the ministry to continue to express God’s will to the world and continue to expand,” he said, in explaining their consistent, faithful commitment.
The former national dairy industry executive says his respect for, and commitment to, BGEAC grew after volunteering with Rock the River, a youth-oriented event in Edmonton in 2010 that featured world-class Christian musical artists and Gospel messages from BGEA President Franklin Graham.
“Getting personally involved with the ministry really opened my eyes and solidified my thinking. It allowed me to get behind the words and really see the cause and effect.”
Smith has been equally impressed with Samaritan’s Purse Canada—including its ability to so rapidly and effectively help disaster victims, and its Operation Christmas Child ministry that delivers gift-filled shoeboxes and messages of Christ’s salvation to more than 10 million struggling children each year.
He said he also values BGEAC and Samaritan’s Purse for their cost-effectiveness and financial integrity: “I know when I make a contribution, they will be reliable trustees of those dollars. It won’t be wasted. The maximum number of dollars will go to the ministry.”
BGEAC is asked by its board to ensure at least 85 cents of every donated dollar is spent on ministry, with only 15 per cent available for administration and fundraising costs. Samaritan’s Purse is similarly asked by its board to ensure that 90 cents of every donated dollar go to ministry projects.
Those strict standards have helped BGEAC and Samaritan’s Purse to consistently perform well in annual audits conducted by the Canadian Council of Christian Charities. Samaritan’s Purse is also ranked among Canada’s most well-managed charities in MoneySense magazine’s annual analysis of the nation’s 100 largest charities (BGEAC’s donation income isn’t large enough to be included in the “Charity 100”).
“The transparency of the organizations impresses me,” Smith says. “Their financial statements are readily available on their websites, and they’re accountable and open to answering questions. And as we receive their publications (including monthly newsletters), we read them right through. They read like truth and good news—not like marketing and propaganda.”
Both organizations also have a “clean record” in their fundraising methods and the moral integrity of their leadership, Smith adds. “There’s never been a hint of scandal or suggestion of impropriety and . . . God has really honored that.”
“Why would you support the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse Canada?” Smith concludes. “Because they have it all—everything you would want in an organization . . . they honor God. What a great place to park your money!”