Choose A Charity And Be A Part Of The Solution

When you’re considering charities to volunteer for, try to choose a charity that tugs at your heartstrings and that you can see yourself supporting long-term. Ask yourself:

  • What am I passionate about?
  • Where would my gifts, talents, and experience be most needed?
  • Logistically, where can I commit that I can get to easily?
  • Who do I know that has voiced a need for volunteer aid?
  • Where can my family volunteer together?
  • Do I support and understand the charity’s mission?
  • Am I willing to stick with them over time?

It’s often difficult to choose where your time and money will be best spent, but the Internet has made it much easier to learn about many charity organizations. Websites such as VolunteerMatch and Charity Navigator will help in your search for a perfect charity. When you’re in the process of deciding how to give wisely and responsibly, these resources have the information necessary for you to make the best choice based on your interests and passions.

The right resources give you the tools and information needed to customize your search and compare charity-specific ratings. Charity Navigator, the largest and most-utilized charity evaluator in the world, offers a user-friendly interface program that allows site visitors to locate charities that align with their interests. They rate charities (from one to four stars) based on their financial health, accountability, and reported results. Charity Navigator also examines each charity’s federal Form 990s and lets you know exactly how an organization’s income funds programs, including what percentage of profit is spent on administrative costs. For example, a good benchmark for choosing a charity to support is making sure that a minimum of 75 percent of the income is spent on programs or the nonprofit’s mission.

VolunteerMatch is another great option that makes it easy for people and causes to connect. With more than one million annual visitors to the site, it has become a widely used Internet recruiting tool for more than 99,000 organizations. The website’s annual report shows how many avenues that they can direct a would-be volunteer toward. The transparent nonprofit even posts its own Form 990 online.

These are many considerations to make before you choose a charity that you want to serve. Check out these VolunteerMatch and Charity Navigator for more information before you choose, and when you do choose, make it count!

Image source: Flickr

By:  Robin Bickerstaff Glover