I don’t know how much to donate- can I just buy my booklets?

One of the most common questions we get asked is, “How do we know how much to donate to you? Can we just buy it?” 

When a charitable organisation tells everyone that their Bible products, programs and resources are “free to all” and “we’d love you to support our mission as we support yours”, it can be difficult to work out what we should do!

So here’s some simple answers to the most frequently asked questions to guide you:

  • “Why don’t you just sell the booklets at a fair price?

Short Answer: By selling our products for a fair price, we instantly put up a barrier for so many who are poor, needy, volunteering or struggling. Read “Serving on the Streets”

Longer Answer: Lifewords wants to provide ways into the Bible for everyone. We do this by reducing the barriers, and for most of our recipients, the biggest barrier is that they would never afford Bible resources. So if we simply sold our resources, the middle class Westerners might be ok, your church might be ok, even you personally might be ok, but everyone else misses out. So we would essentially be a retailer to those who can afford it.

Jesus’ way was different. Look out for the poor. Care for the needy. Inspire those who “have” enough to share with those who “don’t have”.

By the grace of God, this faith mission has been supported for 125+ years and the Lord provides. God’s system works: those who have enough provide for those who don’t. God provides through the generosity of those who give so others can receive.

  • “I just want to make sure I give a fair price for my resources. Just tell me a price!”

Short Answer: The price to produce each booklet varies, but it’s roughly A$1.80 per booklet. Sounds more than you thought? Because most of us forget that someone has to write, design, pay copyright on Bible versions, print, store and ship the booklets. To “produce” is much more than just to print.

Longer Answer: We told people a price for a while. We put a “suggested donation” amount for those who just wanted to pay. It didn’t really work because (a) we weren’t viewed as a generous mission and our donations went down, (b) there was nothing leftover for those who couldn’t afford. So we all felt good that we were paying, but we were contributing to a broken system – wealthy people buying what they need for themselves, ignoring others.

We were contributing to a broken system – ignoring the poor.

The Mathematic Answer: The price to produce Bible booklets varies. It’s over $2 per item just to print something like “A Beautiful Life”. It’s less than $0.50 to produce the “Day-by-Day” leaflet. The production cost would be broken into things like:

  • Write & create the resource: It takes writers and creators to identify the need, work out what accurately helps bring life into that situation, check that it is theologically sound, and finalise the concepts, often with a partner organisation. This takes many hours. Add that to the “cost price”.
  • Design: Booklets, programs or digital resources may look simple in their final delivery, but they have been deliberately designed, crafted and produced to enhance the focus on the scriptures and allow people to connect with God’s word simply and attentively. Another thing to add to the “production price”.
  • Copyright: Many people are unaware that companies actually own certain Bible translations. The NIV provides millions of dollars in revenue for the Bible Society; other translations are owned by publishers or even individuals. We have agreements and often pay for the rights to use their translation. Add $ here.
  • Print: OK, now we get to the part we can see. Lifewords recently reprinted an old booklet title that a group of elderly supporters wanted to use in their ministry. They offered to pay the print cost. Great! Praise God. So the print bill came in. It could be broken into a simple per-booklet price. Nice and simple. It was about $0.80 per booklet. But that’s not the production cost – even of a reprint.
  • Storage: Over the years, we’ve been blessed with staff (and volunteers) who have offered space to store our resources before they are sent. We keep overheads very low. But there are costs involved here too.
  • Shipping: If we bulk print in the UK or even more cheaply in India, Malaysia or Indonesia, we still pay the shipment and import duties to bring those booklets into each country. We also pay for the booklets to be shipped to the end user.
  • Fees on accounts and receiving funds: Our modern society has fees on everything. From receiving credit card donations, to bank account fees etc. We’re not complaining, just explaining some simple costs which makes the “pay your own way” system a very broken system.
  • “Can I get an invoice please? And is there GST I can claim back?”

Yes. Yes, you can order and if your church, business or minstry has an ABN, we simply add GST to the invoice and you can claim it back. We’ve tried to break down a fair price for those who want a sales invoice. Simply request this to vera.kuswara@sgmlifewords.com

We hope this helps you to get a heart for

Have you had a similar experience?