There are countless aid organizations, charities and foundations working to fix the world’s problems. From technology-based companies to loan providers, to construction companies, to sustainable agriculture, the options are truly endless.

If you are a donor who wants to make a difference, but you are overwhelmed by the volume of deserving organizations, here are some tips on how to choose the charity that’s right for you:

1. Decide what area of support interests you.
Do you want to feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, heal the sick and injured or stabilize a suffering economy? There are many different categories of aid that each function for different purposes. Decide which type of aid you are most passionate about.

2. Ask yourself who you want to help.
Maybe you are more inclined to help refugees escaping violence than children needing surgery, or maybe you understand more about providing technology to darkened communities than rebuilding communities affected by natural disasters. Different groups of people are affected by different conflicts and issues. Once you narrow down the country and specific group of people you want to help the most, it becomes easier to choose which organization will fit your needs.

3. Do a background check on the organization or charity.
Donating money can be incredibly rewarding and beneficial, if you are donating to the right cause. Many false organizations exist that scam good-hearted donors, exploiting their lack of knowledge about the aid organization market to cheat them out of their hard-earned profits. Call the office and ask questions about where and how your money will be used. Research the organization and look at reviews from other donors.

4. Ask fellow donors where they donated.
Asking local community members or friends and family where they like to donate money is a good jumping-off point. This will help to get your own ideas flowing.

5. Work for the organization.
If you have enough free time to volunteer at one of the organization’s events or intern in its offices, you can get a first-hand, inside look into how the organization operates and exactly what is being done to reach its goals.

6. Decide how much money you want to spend.
Many people think that donations to charity must occur in lump sums, but there are many flexible program subscriptions that offer monthly payments. Decide which payment plan is right for you and what you can afford to give.

If you follow these steps and choose your charity wisely, your donations could drastically improve or even save the lives of people around the world.

– Hanna Darroll

Sources: Forbes, Charity Navigator
Photo: Zero Hedge

A little over four years ago, pastor Kurt Vickman announced to his church that he would be leaving in order to better dedicate himself to the innovative, Minneapolis Market, a “no-cost food club” for people in need.

Leading up to his retirement, Vickman rallied the church around this new food shelf, filling empty space in the church with shelves and cans of food, encouraging donations for the Minneapolis Market vision.

Unlike typical food shelves, where families walk in and are handed a box of mystery items, the Minneapolis Market offers a grocery store setting for anyone in need to come in and “shop around” just as if they were buying their own groceries. Members are offered a reusable bag and coffee upon arrival as well as someone to help carry the groceries home when they leave.

The market works as a food club like Sam’s Club or Costco, where individuals become members and are given a membership card. All members are then assigned a sponsor who is responsible for putting $10 on the cards each month, which covers the cost of a month’s worth of groceries per person thanks to a charity partnership with Secondhand Harvest and the generosity of personal donors.

The experience of being able to shop “adds respect to the process of a food shelf,” Minneapolis Market co-founder Dustin Heigel said in an interview with the local news. This was the vision of Pastor Vickman in 2010, when he came across a small closet-sized food shelf and realized how dehumanizing and humiliating the experience can be.

Focusing on aid that allows people choice and gives them opportunity while providing what they need is key for Minneapolis Market. Vickman believes that if we only pay attention to certain aspects of human need, such as food, water and shelter, we neglect to address mental, emotional, and spiritual needs such as respect, acknowledgment, and hope.

On a larger scale, there are organizations such as Heifer International, Beads for Africa and Kiva International also based on the principle of providing humanizing aid that not only provides people what they need but makes them feel more and more human.

In Steve McQueen’s acceptance speech for “12 Years A Slave” at the 2014 Academy awards, he said, “Everyone deserves not just to survive, but to live.” Aid provides people with what they need to survive and flourishing organizations such as the Minneapolis Market and others are focusing on evolving aid to mean so much more.

– Heather Klosterman

Sources: Minneapolis Market, Kare 11
Photo: Star Tribune

The 8 essential elements of a successful fundraiser:

  1. Have a Hook – While it would be lovely if people spontaneously wanted to give money to a cause without incentive it is rather unlikely. People need to be drawn in and given a reason to want to show up. Have a particular element that will excite people and make them enthusiastic about attending. For example a theme party, a party centered around an activity like rock-climbing or learning to make pottery, or an auction.
  2. Perfect Your Guest List – It matters who attends. You want people who are enthusiastic and will add life to the fundraiser and make people feel engaged. You also want people who want to give. It is important to have dynamic individuals who can spark other peoples’ excitement about the cause and spur the donating!
  3. Send Irresistible Invites – Visuals are key. People respond to snazzy invitations that look like time and effort went into them. Exciting graphics can turn an RSVP from no to yes. The goal is to impress people with how awesome the fundraiser looks so that they want to rearrange their schedules to attend.
  4. Minimize Costs – Breaking the bank on the party planning takes away from how much money is raised. Better to find sponsors and businesses willing to donate. If you plan accordingly you can cobble together small donations from a number of businesses. Asking for manageable amounts of food, drink, or prizes increases the likelihood of getting a yes. Or finding someone to sponsor the event can be a great way to help a business get its name out there and cover all your costs.
  5. Host Their Pants Off – Everyone loves to feel special and appreciated. Giving each party attendee a little personalized attention can go a long way towards opening someone’s checkbook. It is also important to be calm and together – exuding confidence helps others feel good about giving and certain that their money is going to the right place. Be able to succinctly discuss the cause for the fundraiser.
  6. Get the Message Across – It is important that the fundraiser actually be fun so that guests will relax and enjoy themselves. Have someone give a very concise presentation about the cause – give them the need to know the info in a digestible way.
  7. Make the Giving Part Easy – Create a simple way for people to give after they hear about how awesome the cause is. Having tables set up by all the doors with friendly volunteers to accept donations is a pleasant way of reminding people to give. Having donation boxes set up throughout the event space also makes it easy for guests to donate at their convenience. Make it clear what forms of donation are accepted and make sure you have it clearly written who checks should be made out to near any donation spots.
  8. Follow Up With Thanks – Send thank you notes to everyone who donated. Showing appreciation makes people feel good about giving and increases the likelihood of that person becoming a regular donor. Letting people know their contribution matters also makes it likely that they will mention your cause to others. Word of mouth is a great way to promote the cause!

– Zoë Meroney

Source: iVillage,Indiegogo Blog
Photo: WordPress


As the donors of the Global Fund gather in Brussels, the amount of $15 billion was requested in order to replenish the organization’s money supply. This replenishing process occurs every three years for the Global Fund. In the 2011-2013 replenishing phase, the Global Fund was successful in reaching their goal of $12 billion. Therefore this new goal is a step up from previous endeavors.

In order to reach the Global Fund’s goal of $15 billion, many donors will have to ward off any potential budget cuts. Instead of succumbing to the current economic crisis that is enveloping the world, donors will have to step up to the challenge to fight global poverty. Reaching this goal will require Europeans to step up their commitments. It will require new donors, both from Europe and from emerging economies, to invest for the first time. It will require African nations, whose citizens are some of the most heavily impacted by diseases and whose economies are in some cases growing the fastest, to recommit to spending 15 percent of their national budgets on health. It will require new partnerships with the private, faith, and NGO sectors.

This will not be an easy task. However, if this goal is reached, the world would be a much different and better place in 2016. The Global Fund suggests: More than 18 million people in affected countries could receive antiretroviral treatment; 17 million patients with TB and multidrug-resistant TB could receive treatment, saving almost 6 million lives; millions of new cases of malaria would be prevented, saving approximately 196,000 additional lives each year than there would be based on their current budget level; and more than 1 million new HIV infections could be prevented annually.

While the amount of $15 billion may seem like a daunting figure, it is obtainable. Not only does the Global Fund need the support of its donors, it needs the support of everyone who cares about the issue. Everyone has a voice, it is their choice to use it. If you care about global poverty and support the Global Fund’s cause, please call your local representatives and express your support. The number of your local representatives can be found here.

– Matthew Jackoski

Source: ONE
Photo: Global Fund