Christmas Spirit On The Net - The Tithing Tree
2 December 2002 at 12:12 pm
The spirit of Christmas has been given a new twist this year with the smaller Not for Profits being the yuletide beneficiaries of a new initiative called The Tithing Tree.
The Internet concept comes from of a group in Melbourne and their shared belief that they can individually and collectively make a positive contribution to the world.
The Tithing Tree launched on the Net in recent weeks but it has been the year-long project of Melbourne woman Jo Heriot who mustered the support of a group of long-time friends to get the site up and running.
Heriot says they have no political or religious platform, acting only out of a desire to make a difference.
Heriot, a relationships counselor says she and her family have been ‘tithing’ for many years, supporting an orphanage in India with regular monthly direct-debit donations. After many family discussions and much encouragement she decided it was time to spread the idea and make Australians think differently about Christmas this year.
The idea is that you can choose to give all or part of your Christmas present budget to an organisation you are passionate about instead of giving presents or as many presents.
Heriot says in the spirit of Christmas, it creates change in the lives of those less fortunate than ourselves. Furthermore, this simplifies Christmas because we don’t have to get caught up in the rush.
She says figures reported in one newspaper suggest Australians will waste about $357 million on unwanted presents this year. Total Christmas spending in Australia is expected to be $5.78 billion.
Heriot says just imagine if some of that money could be directed to more useful causes.
Tithing originated in feudal times when people were required to give 10% of their earnings to the church. In a contemporary context, tithing is a conscious choice to contribute financially to something you care about and believe in.
By definition tithing is financial, but it can be expressed in many different forms:
Monthly contributions to a favored charity.
Volunteers who give their time and energy on a regular basis.
Blood donors etc.
Heriot says while tithing is meant to be on a regular basis she decided to target Christmas as a way of making tithing a regular annual choice for many families.
Heriot says The Tithing Tree is purely an inspirational site providing links but does not collect any money on behalf of any organisations or individuals.
The Tithing Tree features different low-profile organisations that don’t have the big marketing budgets. So far six organisations are featured in the inaugural web pages and Heriot says as many as ten NFPs may be featured at any one time during the year.
The Tithing Tree site is as simple as it is welcoming. There are no administration costs and Heriot says all the design and setup costs have been covered by her core group of friends who are ‘helping to water the tithing tree’!
The site even offers suggestions about how to discuss the tithing option with friends and family who you would normally exchange gifts with as well as how Not for Profits can be featured.
Take a look at the site at www.thetithingtree.org.au.