Top 5 ways to use your tax refund

As someone who works in the finance field, I often ponder how to efficiently and effectively use money. We are all stewards of the monetary blessings that God provides, so we need to thoughtfully invest in our world to make the greatest impact.

This April 15, I have some suggestions on how you could best put your tax refund to work.

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1. Fund a loan

Through World Vision Micro, you can fund all or part of a microloan for an entrepreneur of your choice. Hardworking men and women throughout the developing world want to support their families, and they have amazingly creative and sound business ideas about how to do that. But they often have no access to traditional loans or to the capital they need to get started or expand their businesses.

Your tax return could support an entrepreneur like Weyina Gemechu, who runs a small business growing crops and raising cattle in Ethiopia. Or you can search for an entrepreneur to support by location, loan amount, business type, and gender. Even better, when a loan is repaid, it is recycled back to another entrepreneur in the community to which you donated -- further multiplying the impact.

2. Give Locally

Poverty has many different faces around the world, and we shouldn’t ignore those in need right here in America. There are many great organizations in your neighborhood that could use your help. Do some research and go visit them. Invest not only your money, but also your time and talents. For a more centralized support model, consider becoming a Child Champion through World Vision.

3. Sponsor a child

Child sponsorship was World Vision’s original support model, established when founder Bob Pierce met a young Chinese girl named White Jade who needed his help. He left money with a missionary to help care for her, promising to send more each month.

World Vision now provides opportunities for donors to sponsor children in more than 40 countries worldwide. For about $1 per day, your monthly sponsorship will provide children in need with access to life-giving basics like clean water, nutritious food, education, healthcare, and more! Better yet, these funds help not just one child, but their family and entire community.

Sponsor a child like 3-year-old Senaida from Guatemala. You can search by birth month and day, age, gender, and country.

4. Give a special gift

If you already sponsor a child, your tax refund could be an extra blessing. Giving a special gift allows one of our committed staff to go visit your sponsored child’s family, determine what the best use of your financial gift would be, and then purchase and deliver that gift. This could include items such as school supplies, roofing for a house, or clothing.

You can send your sponsored child special gifts through My World Vision. Simply sign in and select that option under "my sponsored children."

5. Use gift multipliers

Want to make the most of your tax return? World Vision's Gift Catalog has a whole line of gifts that will multiply the impact of your giving by as much as 10 times!

For example, for a gift of as little as $50, you can provide $150 (3x) toward clean water and sanitation; for $100, you can provide $500 (5x) worth of food and aid for Africa, and for $150, you’ll be able to provide $1,500 (10x) worth of school equipment!

Explore the many options for Gifts That Multiply in World Vision’s Gift Catalog.

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Larry Probus has served as chief financial officer for World Vision U.S. since 2003, directing finance, information technology, legal, and corporate service functions.

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