Sir, I can’t accept that donation; please put your money away!

This summer I travelled the country for a month or so in our 37-foot “Bible billboard” with Kendell from the Ministry Relations department. As you can imagine, it is hard to miss a massive blob of fluorescent green that’s 37 feet long and 12 feet high with “Bible Study” written all over it, so it is no surprise when people walk up and start a conversation.


One Sunday when we were attending services at John Piper’s church, a member of the congregation walked up to us with his checkbook in hand and offered to donate to our ministry. I spent five minutes trying to convince him that I could not take his money, and even if he sent us a check we wouldn’t have anything to do with it. We simply don’t take contributions.
In the last fifteen years or so, this conversation has been replayed many times over. We continue to get calls or letters from individuals that want to make a donation and we explain we don’t take donations, don’t want their money, and encourage them to give to a worthy ministry elsewhere.
As you can imagine, the flip side of the contribution question comes up regularly here as well. While there are many people that want to donate money to us, there are many more that want us to donate money or software to them. I have always wished there were a way to connect people on both sides of the equation and make everyone happy.
Logos creates powerful tools for ministry, however we are a corporation and not a ministry. Even if someone could make a donation to us it would not be tax exempt. If ministries that were already out there caught the vision to increase the study of God’s Word with Logos Bible Software, we would love to connect them with the people who contact us for the giving and receiving of our products.
What if we could take donations?
Don’t get me wrong, we don’t want to change our business model. We have no plans to start soliciting donations, or reorganize as a 501(c)(3). If we never heard from another interested donor we would be perfectly fine and content, but this whole idea got me thinking about what could be done if all the like-minded individuals got together and worked toward a common goal.
Taking the concept above one step further, today’s modern philanthropist thinking outside the box could see the benefits of a new form of partnership between a donor who understood the time and money saving benefits of using the latest technology, a commercial enterprise with a product and heart for God’s Word, and a ministry that shared the vision of all three.
This new form of partnership would address the concerns of many modern donors.

  • Tax deductibility
  • Responsible use of funds
  • Clear focus on God’s Word
  • Maximizing the benefit of the donation
  • Exploiting technology to exponentially grow their contribution
  • Highest percentage of their donation going to their “cause” and not administration and overhead

By forming a three way strategy for spreading God’s Word and better access to it, contributions could be tax deductible, funds could be assured the most responsibly maximized “best and highest use”, technology would be used to ensure not only the most time savings for the recipients, but to also reduce the costs of the content distributed—and since the tools are already produced, 100% of all donations could be used for the stated purpose.
With the three way strategy in place, a specific cause, mission agency, country, or group could be identified, and charitable contributions could go further than anyone ever imagined possible. What if instead of funding construction projects that can only be accessed by a few local individuals, money could be earmarked for equipping missionaries, pastors, teachers and preachers with better access to the Bible so that more of God’s Word could be shared with the world?
Leaving a legacy
Let’s say for a moment that someone catches this vision in a big way. Mr. & Mrs. Philanthropist have a heart for Africa and want to see God’s Word preached throughout the continent. For a few million dollars they could make sure that every missionary in Africa had their own copy of Logos Bible Software.
Which would leave a more lasting legacy? A nice new building in the States, or a massive army of proven, experienced missionaries all empowered with the most powerful tool on the planet for studying, preaching and teaching God’s Word—in the field where they are already planted?
Stretching your donation dollars
Let’s take this one step further and look at the multiplying effects of this one donation. Mr. & Mrs. Philanthropist get their favorite mission agency and Logos together and outline their plan to supply 2,000 missionaries with Logos Bible Software. The missionaries benefit, the people under their teaching benefit, Mr. & Mrs. Philanthropist get any applicable tax deductions, the mission agency outfits their missionaries, more of God’s Word is understood and preached, and Logos funds research & development, programming, and production of great new resources, texts and tools to help everyone study the Bible better.
There are not many guaranteed results from charitable contributions, but equipping missionaries, pastors and teachers with the Word of God and better access to it is about as close as it gets. If you are still reading you are probably reciting the scriptures I am thinking about in your head right now, you know as well as I do how God feels about the power and importance of His Word. I don’t have to convince you.
We are still not asking for donations
Please understand, this is dream world . . . thinking out loud . . . wondering “what if” . . . . We are not soliciting donations, we are not asking for money—we still don’t want it and can’t take it! We are just putting some ideas down in writing to paint a picture of how technology has not only impacted the study of God’s Word but has opened up the doors for creatively being better stewards and returning to an emphasis on Bible study, preaching and teaching around the world.
We know there are many faithful and generous individuals who already regularly purchase our packages just to bless others, and we know how powerful, time-saving and money-saving our tools are (not to mention cheaper than print books to ship to the mission field). We also know that there are people all over the world who would love to have our tools but can not afford them, and people who love God’s Word, love Logos Bible Software and want to be the best stewards possible while giving in this area of personal interest. We would just like to find a way to connect them all.
If you have ideas or dreams of your own about finding a way to leave a legacy and impact the world with something that you can be guaranteed will not fail, wither, return void, pass away . . . but will stand forever, give me a call.
-Dan

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5 Responses to “Sir, I can’t accept that donation; please put your money away!”

  1. D. Horst February 8, 2008 at 7:43 am #

    While you are thinking through this. I would suggest that while western missionaries might fit with Logos current market better a project along the lines of developing a version of Logos and distributing it on a platform along the lines of one laptop per child to indigenous church leaders might be more effective in meeting the larger goal of having the Gospel preached to the ends of the earth.

  2. David Pereira February 8, 2008 at 10:26 am #

    Getting these tools out in the field sounds like such a great idea!
    Maybe at first, Logos could allow donors to purchase software for missionaries wanting it. Then, as they become available, the packages could be sent to those requesting them.
    Probably the best solution would be for Logos to offer special academic-type pricing to mission agencies and then encourage their givers & members to see if Logos would be helpful to them in their ministires. Keep up the dreaming! David

  3. tlange February 8, 2008 at 4:00 pm #

    What about Logos forming a foundation that would allow what you spoke about to occur?

  4. John Richerson February 9, 2008 at 8:20 pm #

    Mr. Pritchett,
    As I read your post I became very excited about your vision.
    My wife and I are currently in the process of setting up a 501(c)(3) organization that seeks, as one of its goals, to equip missionaries, pastors, and orphanage workers world wide through opportunity and access to rest. We are passionate about supporting and encouraging those who are stepping out and following God’s call. Every where we go throughout the world, we encounter shepherds and field workers tending Christ’s flock and tilling His field. That work is challenging and is not without it’s share of triumphs and defeats. So many are weary or in need of equipping. Each of them, from time to time, need rest.
    One of the most important aspects of this rest is the reintroduction of uninterrupted intensive bible study. So often those that work in the field are so intensely focused on meeting the day to day needs of their flock that they tend to drift away from their source of strength, the living Word of God. Many have not yet found the benifits of study and sermon prep tools like your product.
    As we build our charter and bylaws, we want to be sure that we are able to capture the full scope of our potential use for Christ. Being an organization that connects those led to give to those who are in need is an exciting possibility and one that we are and must continue to specifically plan for.
    The key to this adventure, it would seem, is building the network that would identify and vet the need and place the proper resources (hardware, software, and ISP access) with the appropriate users. This same network is what I believe we are equipped to expand.
    I would love to hear more about the needs you have encountered in your travles and share in the vision you have for your company’s product.
    Blessings,
    John

  5. George F Somsel January 1, 2009 at 3:34 am #

    Have you seriously considered starting a small organization which would be devoted to providing needy individuals with the ability to obtain Logos resources? It could be set up as a separate organization from the company itself and could provide assistance to seminary students, missionaries and pastor’s who receive less than $nnnnn.nn income. An application detailing the individual’s situation would be required. I would suggest that if you do so no person should receive FREE resources. He would be required to spend a certain amount (percentage ?) in order to obtain the benefit. In order for it to meet the criteria you have set forth it would need to be a legal separate entity though it might occupy space in the Logos quarters.