Charities: How to Choose the Right Ones to Support

Given that there is never really a set season of giving, and depending on financial circumstances the odd time you are able to give back may not be an event but rather a random day of the year.  It’s always to have a charity in mind that you are regularly committed to and trust your donations go to the right goal you intended for it.  In many case a good amount of early research is needed to make sure that whatever group you give money too are in line with your principles and beliefs.  Here are a few things to consider when you decide to do that little bit of research:

  • Go to the website and identify how much money goes to salaries, administration and reserves.  This should all be publicly available and if not ask for it.
  • Compare a few charities with similar goals to identify how much of the money you contribute actually goes to the right projects and receivers.
  • Make sure they are government certified and in some cases any contribution is tax deductible – the latter item usually means they are registered organizations.
  • Check who their board members are and see what their backgrounds are and experiences.
  • If you can talk to staff that is usually the best way to get a sense of how professional and passionate the staff is within the organization.  That is a good “gut feeling” moment that can help you make that decision.
  • Depending on your beliefs, make sure that the charity is aligned with that – whether religious, political, economic, or social.
  • Choose something close to your heart and with direct relevance to your life experience – it’ll be that more personally rewarding and you’ll be less fleeting with your donation commitment.
  • Most importantly make sure you budget for your donation – having your house in order before you make grandiose statements is a priority. Take care of yourself before you take care of others – that’s not to say that being selfish should be your constant top priority, but the idea is not to regret your donation later making it an unpleasant, and in some cases costly, experience.
  • If you have kids, make sure they know about what you’re doing and talk to them about the charity, this will indirectly normalize charity to them and make it a future habit which is priceless for them and the society they live in.
  • Where possible, keep you charity as local as possible, they are usually the most efficient, least bureaucratic, and have the highest activity.  Obviously this is impossible if you are looking at contributing to international causes specifically.

Are there some specific charities you’d like to highlight?  There are many wonderful ones that don’t get as much attention as they should, particularly those on the ground dealing with the day to day hardships of specific communities.


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