Recently, I wrote a blog post about opportunities to give back to your community without giving money. During a global pandemic, it can be tough for a lot of us to find additional resources to give – but as job numbers are bouncing back across the country, more and more people are being put in a position where financial donations are on the table, and there are many, many philanthropic efforts in need right now. But how do you know which is the best use of your money?
Find a Cause
A noble and logical place to start is by identifying a cause that you’re passionate about. I briefly discussed this in my last post, but identify something in your community – or something broader, such as the civil rights causes presently dominating the globe.
Noting areas of your community or country that need to be addressed and change is a great starting spot, and an easy way to ensure that the money you’re giving is going to a cause close to you or your family’s heart.
Do Your Research
The second – and most important step – is to do your research. If you’ve landed on supporting a cause like cancer awareness or civil rights you will likely be inundated with options for where and how to send your money. A simple search of “cancer” on CharityNavigator’s website yields over 700 charities with ratings, and over 60,000 without them. In short, it can be difficult to know where exactly your money is going, even if the cause seems to be righteous at face value.
So how can you find this out? I recommend turning back to sites like Charity Navigator or Charity Watch. These sites break down financial disclosures from philanthropic organizations, assign ratings to the orgs based on their money management, transparency and a number of other factors.
Further, well known organizations like Consumer Reports also produces annual charity recommendations – these are broken down by category, allowing you to find the highest (and lowest) rated philanthropic orgs within whatever umbrella you’d like – be it healthcare, animal welfare, or homelessness.