How To Pick A Charity To Give To
There are many great charities out there doing much-needed work to reduce global poverty. Here are some tips on deciding which charity you should give to.
1. Clarify your beliefs
Before you start looking for a charity to give to, be sure you know what you believe. Figure out what missions matter the most to you and your family. Do you care the most about protecting the environment? Fighting human trafficking? Providing education? Once you have selected the category that you care about most, you can begin to research the different methods of solving that problem.
2. Start broad
Use websites like CharityNavigator.org, GuideStar.org or GiveWell.org to learn how different charities in the category you picked spend their money. Sites like these aggregate tax information and other records you can use to learn how different charities spend their money.
3. Do your research
Find a clear description of the charity’s mission, programs and achievements. Figure out what their goals are, how they measure their success and how they use that information to function better. If you can’t find this information easily, be wary. But be aware that some problems are hard to solve. Don’t place a dollar sign on a human life. Some organizations invest thousands of dollars rescuing women and children from slavery because, simply put, extracting slaves is hard and expensive.
Nancy Lublin CEO of DoSomething.org knows that “Low overhead doesn’t necessarily mean an organization is awesome at fighting poverty, or that its turnover is low and its people productive. And it certainly doesn’t guarantee that the group is spending wisely.”
Lublin cited Apple as an example from the for-profit world of a company with high overhead but incredible products.
“According to Apple’s Q4 2008 report, 78% of its expenses were sales, general, and administrative — the corporate equivalent of overhead. Seventy-eight percent! Yet nobody flinches,” she wrote.
4. Contact the charity and become personally involved
If you’re going to establish a long-term relationship with an organization, take the time to call them, or at least email them about your interest. Best of all, take the time to become personally involved in the charity you donate to allows you incomparable insight into how they operate.
“Be very reluctant to give to strangers,” Dan Moore, vice president of public affairs for GuideStar, an online source of financial information on charities told NBC. “If you know the organization and you know their work, you will know with some degree of confidence that your gift will be put to good use.”
5. Trust your gut
If an organization seems questionable, don’t give. Find a group that you feel comfortable supporting and give what you can.
Picking a charity to support can be daunting but taking the time to give well is incredibly rewarding.