How To Decide Where To Donate

Donating to a charity helps spread joy throughout your community and can give someone else hope. When deciding where to donate, you may want to consider where your donations are actually going. Is the money that you are giving going straight to the cause or primarily to administrative costs? Here are some resources and guidelines to help you decide where to donate.

How Do I Get Started?

Your first consideration when you’re deciding on a charity will probably be based on your personal beliefs and preferences. You may choose a cause that you feel strongly connected to. For example, if you have a relative with cancer, a cancer-research charity may appeal to you. Find information on the charity’s website about their mission and who they are. Don’t forget to look at all the policies that you can find. This will help you determine if the charity aligns with your belief system and if you feel comfortable giving them a financial donation.

I Think I Found One. Now What?

First, do your research. Many charities have financial summary pages on their websites. It’s important to look at financial accountability and review annual reports to see how and where the organization is spending money. You can also get quick information by doing a simple Internet search on the charity. CharityWatch and Charity Navigator are good resources to help you find out what portion of financial donations go directly to the cause. These resources strive to help people give wisely and find charities that they trust. Both sources provide scores for financial aspects, accountability, and transparency in an organization. They can help you make an informed decision and learn exactly where your money is going. If you decide to do further investigation, always make sure that the resource or ratings agency is independent and does not have any affiliations with or monetary support from any charities.

Everyone Keeps Asking Me to Donate!

It’s likely that you’re being asked to donate to certain charities by friends, family, and coworkers. Before you reach into your wallet, consider whether the charities are ones that you feel comfortable supporting. You also don’t want to spread your available resources too thin across too many charities, so it’s best that you focus on a few organizations that you view most favorably. If people are asking you to help out with other charities, it’s OK to say something along the lines of, “Right now I’m concentrating on giving my time and money to a few particular causes. I may be able to help out at another time.” This way, you leave open the option of helping later, but for the time being, you’re sticking to giving to organizations that you’ve already selected.

If you talk to the charity and are not able to get financial accountability or annual reports, trust your instincts. Take your time, do your research, and give with a cheerful heart.

Image source: Flickr

By: Lauren​ Gaines