There can be times when the news can make you feel overwhelmed and helpless, but the world is not always as bleak as it seems. If you want to help by contributing time, effort or money, there are people and organizations that are committed to doing good and helping others. In fact, there are over 1.5 million nonprofit organizations and charities in the United States alone.
Here are three questions that can help you determine which charity to pick.
1. What are you interested in?
To be fully involved in the charity, it’s a good idea to select one that aligns with your interests and values. A few examples are the following:
Animal charities focus on conservation, sheltering, rescuing, and protecting animals around the world. Their advocacy varies from organization to organization, but a few examples of specific agendas are fighting for better treatment for farm animals, providing rehabilitative services to rescued animals, and researching and manufacturing alternative to meat and other meat-based products for human consumption.
Charity founders, philanthropists, scientists, lawyers, and environmentalists are coming together to achieve a common goal – to attend to the world’s environmental crises, the most urgent of which is climate change. Environmental charities are fighting off climate change from all angles – developing clean and renewable energy, filing lawsuits against corporations responsible for large scale environmental damage, protection and restoration of the oceans from pollution, and more.
A 2014 United Nations study has found that more than 57 million children worldwide do not have access to education. This needs to change, and non-profit organizations are at the frontlines of the battle. Educational charities are founded to bring socio-economic change to third-world countries through education.
2. What strides have the charity made to achieve their goal?
Needless to say, it’s important to compare what the charity says they’re going to do, to what they have actually done in the time they’ve been operational. Don’t be afraid to ask. What is their mission? How do they intend to fulfill that mission? What progress have they made? What are their future plans? Make sure your questions are focused on their effectiveness, efficiency, management, and finances.
3. Is the charity legitimate?
In light of recent scandals involving formerly respectable charities, it’s understandable for you to have concerns with donating your hard-earned money. Conducting your own research can put your worries to rest. Check online for evident red flags such as recent investigations and scandals involving the charity.
Know where your donations will go – financial statements and tax information are generally available to the public, and other financial information is available upon request. Be cautious when an organization puts an emphasis on its overhead ratio to measure financial success. Experts don’t recommend it as a reliable metric for picking a charity.
Remember the three things to focus on when selecting a worthy charity – personal interest, effectiveness, and legitimacy. There’s an astounding number of organizations made up of generous people who want to save the world. Help them help more. To learn more on the topic, go have a look at Promoting Your Nonprofit Organization.