Donating to causes that you feel passionate about should not be so passive as to giving to the first charity that comes your way. To truly understand where your donation is going, who or what it is benefitting, and the effectiveness of your contribution, be sure to do some research beforehand. Below are a number of strategies implemented by avid donors that can help you in making the most practical contribution to a charity of your choice.
As mentioned above, donors that truly care about their cause will not jump at the first charity to come their way. Take time to research which organizations benefit the things you care about most. Though donating money or goods to large, more general charities like American Red Cross are beneficial, they may not cater to more specific causes that you seek to help. For example, if your community has a larger issue pertaining to homeless veterans, donating to the AMVETS National Service Foundation would be a wiser choice.
Be Cautious of Impersonators
When researching the type of organization you plan on contributing to, be careful of organizations with similar names that may be less efficient, or even scams. When seeking for Animal Crisis Care for example, a charity named Animal Crisis Prevention may come up, but the two could be vastly different. Take the time to compare any similar sounding organizations to see which carry out the best work for their given causes.
Check Financial Records
Avid donors know that a charity with great financial strength is an indicator of its success, and that a spending rate of 75% or more on programs and services directed toward their cause is important. All of this can be seen in the charity’s financial records. CharityWatch.org is another site that provides donors with this information, giving you the tools necessary in choosing the most efficient organization. A charity’s sustainability over time is just as if not more important than its day-to-day practices. Study the history of the organization you are deciding on donating to, and determine whether or not their financial practices translate to efficiency.
Focus Your Efforts
While donating everything you can to every charity you can seems like a selfless, caring act, it diminishes the chances of your donations actually making changes in those organizations. The processing expenses for each contribution are more likely to outweigh the amount you give. Choose a charity that you feel passionate about, and confidently give a sizeable, yet feasible amount. A larger donation that does not hurt your financial situation is much more likely to benefit the cause of your choice.
Spread the Word
Perhaps one of the best ways you can support your favorite charity is my sharing their information, and asking for donations in their name. Smart donors know that long-term supporters are key in the success of a charity. See yourself as their partner. Share the organization’s information with friends, family, through social media, and fundraisers of your choice. Hosting an event to raise money for your favorite charity can be an extremely effective strategy in helping their cause.