How to Pick a Charity

By Mali Anderson in Helping Hands

If you are wondering how to pick a charity, you are not alone. Deciding which mission statement matches your values and which organization is best suited to maximize the impact of your gift can be overwhelming. With a combination of research and trust, you can be confident about your gift and the changes it drives in your community and beyond.

Identifying Your Values

Before you open your wallet, you have to be passionate about the organization you are giving to. For the most fulfilling donor relationship, it's important to support the causes that align with your personal core values.

Think about impactful experiences you've had or elements of your life you can't imagine being without. For me, that has translated into giving to a health charity after a loved one had a health crisis and donating to arts and culture causes I believe in. Friends of mine opt to donate to educational and environmental causes due to their great love of the outdoors.

Think broadly and start making a list of possible causes you want to support. From there, you can narrow down your choices.

volunteers and donators clasping hands

Evaluating Charities

Focus on finding a nonprofit whose mission statement resonates with you. Then ask the organization's team how their programs meet that mission. Ask about their revenue, public support, fundraising expenses, administrative expenses, and length of operations. It may seem like a lot, but once you see the whole picture, it's easier to determine if they are making a lasting impact in line with your values.

Your money can go far at either a small or large organization. After reviewing the data and the results the organization has driven over the last few years, you can decide if you feel they have a plan in place to use your donation wisely.

Remember that you are building a relationship with the organization. If at any point in your inquiries you feel pressured or uncomfortable, walk away. You can also ask organizations to verify that they are tax-exempt and inquire with a business bureau if you want to learn more about an organization's practices. Trust your instincts as you go through the process.

group of people gardening for charity

Building Meaningful Relationships

Do your research, make your inquiries, and let your relationships with your chosen charities develop over time. Eventually, you will find a nonprofit that does work you love and appreciates you as an essential part of their success.

If you need time to make a decision, remember there are other ways to get involved before you give. Volunteer at an event or offer to help spread the word through your community. After engaging with the organization, if you feel aligned with their mission, you'll feel good about gifting your dollars with confidence and pride.

How do you choose where to donate? Let us know on Twitter!

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Why It's Good

There are many charities in need of support, but for the most fulfilling donor relationship, opt to support the causes you deeply care about. Then, you can take pride in seeing the work of the nonprofit. After all, as a donor, you're driving change in your community and beyond.