Charity Checklist: 3 Things to Consider Before Donating

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There are thousands and thousands of charities out there that are addressing important issues.  From education to environmental causes to cancer research, nonprofits are always in need of our support, both from a financial and volunteer standpoint.

However, before pulling out the pocketbook, donors should know which organizations will ensure their dollar will make the most impact.

Here are 3 things to consider before making a donation.

Find a cause you’re passionate about:

Determining which causes matter most to you, and at the same time, choosing the right charity can be a challenge. Many nonprofits are similar in that they work toward the same goals, but not all have the same values or trustworthiness. For this reason alone, it is important to start thinking about charitable giving early in the year so you can allow more time to select a cause that you believe can best advocate for the causes that matter most to you.

Thomas Kane, a Chicago executive who donates his time and efforts to a range of local charities, as well as international causes, says taking time to research before donating is key to getting the most out of giving.  For instance, Tom Kane suggests you may even set up a meeting or a Zoom call with the charity to gain an understanding of how the organization goes about its work.

Research the nonprofits track record:

Part of your research should be about understanding the impact an organization has had in the past and how it’s working toward its mission today.

Matthew Viola, senior program analyst at Charity Navigator, explains that sometimes doing a little digging into the charity’s financial health can help you with your final decision to donate.

“You want to make sure the organization is robust, clear on its mission and clear on who’s running the organization. You don’t want the information of who’s in charge to be a secret,” he says.

Look at it as an investment:

At the end of the day, there’s so much more to supporting a cause than simply donating money to it.

By forming a relationship with the nonprofit and by supporting them throughout the year, you will be more privy to what they are doing, what they’ve accomplished and what their goals are for the future.  You can also make it a habit to check in a year after you donate to find out if that organization has met its commitments. If it has proven to have made a positive impact, then you should feel confident in your decision to support the cause year after year.

If you agree with the old adage ‘It is better to give than to receive,” then you should consider checking out a few things before handing over your cash.

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