Many of us like to feel as though we are making a difference in the world. One of the reasons that many people choose to improve the sustainability of their lifestyles is because they want to have a positive impact.
You can have a positive impact on the world by giving to a charity. When you give to a charitable organization, your donation combines with the donations from thousands — or even millions — of others to make an impact. When you donate, you can be part of a larger effort that really can promote positive change in the world.
But how do you choose the right charity to give to? There are tens of thousands of options out there, and you can’t give to them all. You need to choose a charity based on your own goals and values, and where you think you can do the most good.
Consider Causes that are Important to You
Take a few minutes to think about your priorities, and what’s most important to you. This is the start of your charity search. When choosing a charity to support, it helps to think of an organization whose values align with yours, and whose goals are those you can suppost.
Do you have a keen interest in wildlife preservation? Are you particularly concerned about hunger? Do you think that it would be nice for better family planning efforts to be made? Is education a priority for you? Are you concerned about the homeless?
Think about what you are most interested in, and the problems that you think could use some real help solving. Then, look for a charity that is actively trying to solve that issue.
Where Does the Money Go?
Don’t just stop at the name or stated mission of the charity, though. It’s also important to consider where the money goes. With some charities, as little as 40% of your donated dollar goes to actually help assuage a problem. All charities have expenses, from paying a CEO to administering an office, to the costs associated with fundraising. However, some charities spend their money better than others.
I like to make sure that at least 80% of my donated money is actually going to the cause before I donate. To me, that’s reasonable. I like it even better if I can find a charity addressing a problem of import to me that spends 90% to 95% on addressing the problem.
You can find out how much of your donation is going toward alleviating the problem by doing a little research. In the United States, CharityNavigator.org breaks it down for you. In Canada, you can use Charity Intelligence Canada to find out how much of your donation is being used for its stated purpose.
Another consideration is whether or not you can see the changes wrought by your donation. I give generously to the local food bank because I can see how it benefits the community. However, there are also international charities, including those associated with education, that allow you to see how your donation can change lives.
Where do you donate your money? How do you choose which charities to support?