How to Choose a Charity: 10 Tips for Giving Wisely

How to Choose a CharityAs some of you know, each month I write a “Charity of the Month” post on my blog.  I love learning about the world, different kinds of people, and other cultures.  Part of that learning involves identifying the challenges and struggles that people outside of our typical peer group encounter.  If we are able, it is wonderful to be able to lift others up, whether they are right next door or all the way on the other side of the world.  Making charitable donations is one way to do so.  This post will provide you with the steps you should take when choosing a charity to support and 10 tips for giving wisely.


What is the purpose of my Charity of the Month posts?


Each month, my goal is to spotlight a charity or nonprofit.  Some of the charities will be those that provide support in other areas of the world, and others will be within the United States.  The goal of the “Charity of the Month” post is to:
  1. Help us teach our children about the needs of others worldwide.
  2. Learn about diversity, empathy, compassion, and also to try to lessen or prevent negative stereotypes of people outside our usual peer group.
  3. To spread awareness about lesser known organizations that might benefit from our support.
These posts are not meant to make you should feel you must support or contribute to any of these causes.  These posts are also not meant to underplay the IMMENSE importance and value of other more well-known charities.  We certainly cannot support every single cause.  That would be impossible.  We can’t be passionate about every organization.  That would be unrealistic.  But maybe, by spreading awareness, our children will find something they are passionate about.  Or they will simply be more sensitive to a larger variety of needs and groups of people around the world.  Knowledge is powerful!



Give Wisely + Checklist


10 Tips for Choosing a Charity to Support


When I first began donating to charities, I didn’t always think beyond the act of simply giving.  Giving is important, so I figured no matter what organization I was giving to, I was making a difference.  Isn’t it the thought that counts?  Isn’t that what matters most?


I do believe that a huge part of service is the thought you put into it.  However, as I’ve done more research and thought more about donations in general, I began to wonder:  are there some charities I should avoid?  Are there charities I don’t know about that actually effect more change than the ones I do know?  In December, Consumer Reports published an eye-opening article stating some of the best and worst charities to consider when making donations.  Food for thought!


With over 1.5 million charities to choose from, how do I know which one is right for me?  Choosing where to send my money is overwhelming at best.  Not many of us have endless funds, so choosing where our money goes is important.  Choosing how our money is spent is important.  It is important to know that the money we give is being used directly for the cause and is spent the way we want.


Therefore, I did some investigating and compiled the following list of 10 tips for giving wisely.


  1. Decide what you are passionate about, clarify your values, and identify your preferences.  Do you love animals?  Have you lost a loved one to cancer?  Does a particular illness or disability affect someone in your family or close friends?
  2. Decide whether you want to focus on a more global impact or local needs.
  3. Once you have decided on a cause that speaks to you, find 3-4 charities that focus on that cause and whose mission you believe in. 
  4. Compare several charities that support the same cause and have similar missions.  Not all nonprofits are created equal.  Some are more reputable, more transparent, or have more concrete goals and achievements.
  5. Research the organizations to be sure they are legitimate, reputable, and honest.
  6. Determine exactly how the money you donate will be used.  Don’t hesitate to contact the charity and ask very specific questions.
  7. Assess the transparency of the organization.  Do they disclose all of their financial information?  Do they put out reports on specific achievements?  Avoid charities that won’t share information or pressure you.
  8. Make sure the charity spends at least 75 percent of its budget on programs and the cause.  This means that the charity spends less than 25% of their funds on overhead, management, and to fundraise.  An organization that spends more than 25% on these aspects may not be very efficient with their money, and your donation may not reach as many in need.
  9. Assess the impact of the charity’s work.  Can you find evidence of projects that have been completed, who has benefited, and outcomes over time?
  10. Volunteer.  If you are able,  see the organization in action by volunteering with them.  This gives you an idea of where your donations are going and how the organization impacts others.


Give WIsely Checklist

Click here to receive your FREE Give Wisely Checklist, in addition to access to my free printable library full of gratitude, kindness, and service resources.


Enjoy exploring the world and its needs with your little helpers, and offer support in whatever way you can.


Much love,


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