When it comes to little-known facts about 3ABN, perhaps few are as fascinating as how 3ABN is supported. Unlike most other large television and radio ministries, 3ABN has never—and will never—use telethons or any type of heavy on-air fundraising to meet its financial needs. In fact, without the financial support of any church or denomination, 3ABN’s ministry has always been dependent upon the Holy Spirit to move the hearts of those who believe in this ministry’s mission, supporting it with their prayers and faithful giving.
While historically 3ABN has sometimes been blessed by large donations, the global economic crisis has dwindled that sum considerably. But God is faithful in providing for our needs, and the number of small donors has grown to make up the difference. Most people would be surprised that although the average donor gives between $5 and $25 a month, their faithfulness and consistency keep this ministry growing and going into all the world, fulfilling its mission to reach the world with the undiluted three angels’ messages of Revelation 14.
An Offering to the Lord
In Exodus 25:2, the Lord called upon Moses to deliver a message to the people. “Speak to the children of Israel, that they bring Me an offering.” He said. “From everyone who gives it willingly with his heart you shall take My offering.”
The Bible records that the people gave willingly of the gold, silver, precious fabric, and stones they had acquired in Egypt—materials they used to build the tabernacle in the wilderness. In much the same way, 3ABN’s Donations Department provides a way for God’s people to support the ministry.
Bruce and Tammy Chance have been working with 3ABN for many years, and their efforts have helped 3ABN stay on track through some very lean times. In fact, they tell us that during 2011, they were able to resell $320,000 worth of donated items.
As department heads, they each have their own area of expertise. “I deal mostly with posting on eBay,” Tammy says, “while Bruce deals mostly with precious metals, coins, and jewelry.”
And what types of objects are easiest to sell?
“That’s simple,” Bruce says. “Definitely gold and silver. Gold watches, gold and silver coins, dental gold, gold jewelry, diamonds, gold Rolex watches, sterling silver—all these items require much less time to research and bring in more money than almost anything else.”
When it comes to identifying value, Bruce and Tammy do their homework. “We do the research, and use our collective experience to make sure we can get the most out of the donated valuables,” he says. “I watch the stock market prices, and we have very accurate scales and quality tools to determine an item’s value. We resell to collectors, dealers, and private buyers, as well as on eBay.
“Many people send us jewelry, and we hope our donors understand that we follow the market when it comes to reselling it. Prices fluctuate, and sometimes people’s expectations are that we can somehow get retail price for their items. But that’s not realistic. Nine years ago, the value of gold, for example, was under $300 an ounce, and today it’s nearly $1,800. What I’m trying to say is that gold jewelry without stones is often worth more by weight then the object itself, depending on the fluctuation of the market.”
“Another area people don’t understand very well is that appraisals are generally used to determine the replacement value of an item, and not its resale value,” Tammy adds. “When people call and want to know if I can sell their things, I often have to say that it will cost them more in shipping than what I can get out of them. Every item I list on eBay must be photographed, uploaded with a description, measurements, any flaws, etc. Each item must have a certain value just to cover the cost of putting it up for sale. That’s why we ask our donors to call or e-mail us before they send us something.
“We also ask folks not to send us items that have extreme sentimental value,” she continues. “I tell them that we cannot put a price tag on sentimental value, and that they should pray about it first.”
“Many people want to send us things of value that have been handed down through generations,” Bruce says, “but this is something only the Holy Spirit can work out for them.”
Both Bruce and Tammy are impressed by the generosity and sacrificial giving of our donors. “It amazes me that we often get things from people who are in dire straits financially,” Tammy says. “These items could help them pay their bills, but instead they send them to us to cover our bills. It is so obvious that the Lord has placed that burden on their heart, and their unselfish and sacrificial spirit prompts them to send their items here.”
Bruce adds, “Many of them don’t even use the opportunity to declare the items’ value as a tax-deduction, either, even though the option is theirs. “When we tell them we’ll send them a tax-deductible receipt they say, ‘Oh, that’s not necessary.’ Of course, we send them their receipt anyway, but it’s interesting that many of them tell us that’s not important to them. They’re truly giving to the Lord.
“We really appreciate those who call and say, ‘I’m sending this and I want you to just do the best you can with it. I know that the Lord will bless,’ ” Tammy says. “They trust us to do the right thing and it’s a real privilege to work on their behalf to bless 3ABN’s ministry to the world.”
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Items we DO accept:
- Antique Himstedt or Marie Osmond dolls
- Branded carnival glass
- Gold and diamond watches
- Gold, silver, and platinum items
- Guns (vintage and otherwise)
- Handcrafted quilted quilts
- Instruments in good condition
- Longaberger baskets
- Old knives
- Real (not costume) jewelry
- Sterling silverware or anything sterling
- Vintage Bavarian or Noritake china
Items that we CANNOT accept:
- Antique furniture
- Costume jewelry
- Old books (except special editions)
- Old hymnals
- Old records
- Sheet music
- Silver-plated items
- Very high-mileage vehicles
- Anything in disrepair