There are over 1.5 million non-profits registered in the United State. If you donated $25 every day to each of those organizations, it would take you 164.38 years to say you supported them all financially. Luckily, we as individuals, do not need to support every good cause out there. Everyone has different interests. I like to help at-risk youth travel abroad and learn from interacting with diverse cultures. You might like to help shelter the homeless and get them back on their feet.
Here are five questions you can ask yourself when thinking about what non-profit(s) to give your money to.
1. Where does my money really go? Check for the organizations financial documents and financial charts. They are usually located under the “about us” or “donate” landing page. If you do not see their financial statement on their website, this should be a red-flag and I would not recommend donating to that cause. When donating, you will want to see more than 70% of your money going back to their core mission (education, programs, research, etc.). 15-20% (25% max) should be spent on fundraising and 5-10% on administration costs such as facilities, maintenance and employees.
2. Where do my friends give? I posted on Facebook “what are some good organizations I should donate money to” and within 24 hours I got more ideas and explanations of good causes then I could think of. Most likely your circle of friends are interested in the same things you are. They might have a couple organizations they already support and will be able to provide you with some valuable information and statistics about some organizations you were not aware of.
3. What are the top three things that interest me most in the world? For me I love to travel, give and speak. Writing down your top three things that interest you most will help narrow your decision on which organization you might be interested in giving to. When you choose an organization that you are interested in, your passion shows and both you and the organization benefit.
4. Is it local? Not because it needs to be local to give. I give to several organizations across the world, the reason why this is important is because you might want to go and check out what they do. How are their facilities? Talk to an employee and see how long they have worked there and why they do what they do.
5. What do I get out of it? Don’t just think about the organization, think about yourself. If you are donating to a school in Africa, are you interested in receiving updates from students on what they are learning? If you are donating to an animal shelter do you want to be on their list that show animals that are getting adopted and treated to see where your money is going? See what the organization does for their donors and how they reward them for supporting their mission.
Here is my challenge to you: Ask yourself these five questions and take $10 this week to give to one organization that you have never donated to before. I will do the same. When you find the organization you want to give to, post it below and share with everyone why you chose it. I look forward to hearing who you are giving to this week and why.