How to Choose a Nonprofit to Support

Ahh, November. The official beginning of the holiday season. The month of thankfulness that kicks off a season-long festive philanthropic frenzy. For many people, the holiday season is a time of giving. One of the best ways to celebrate the season of generosity is by supporting a nonprofit organization. 

You may think that since most nonprofits support important causes, then they all must be pretty equal. However, not all organizations are created equal. Whether your donation comes in the form of hard-earned money, precious time or both, make sure that you are happy with the organization you’re giving it to. Don’t know where to start? No problem, I gotcha! Here are a few factors to consider while choosing a nonprofit to support. 

  1. 1. Take a minute to ponder your values and interests. 

    Think of a donation of money or time as a material item. Are you going to choose an item that you don’t like, an item that’s just okay or the perfect item for you? When picking your nonprofit, look for ones that align with your values, interests and passions. From music to animals to politics to healthcare, there is an organization out there for everyone!

  2. 2. Choose a scope.

    Do you want to build wells in third world countries or feed kids from your hometown? Both options are fantastic, but it’s time to narrow down your search. Choosing whether you want to support a global, national or local organization can help pinpoint the perfect nonprofit for you!

  3. 3. Consult the experts.

    So you have chosen a few nonprofits that fit your values and desired scope. How do we narrow it down from here? Let’s turn to the experts for advice. In this case, our “experts” come in the form of websites that provide information on thousands of nonprofits around the world. My personal go-to is charitywatch.org, but you can find valuable information from many sites, including guidestar.org, givewell.org,  and charitynavigator.org. Use these handy tools to find statistics on the % of donations that go to the organization’s mission, organizational transparency, business practices and more. 

  4. 4. Look for room to grow.

    Sure, there are so many positives when it comes to donating to popular charities, but don’t automatically discount smaller, younger nonprofits. Supporting an organization as it grows and matures is an exciting, unique experience. Not to mention, smaller nonprofits can use all the support they can get. 

Next time you drop a dollar into Santa’s collection bin at the grocery store, think about the impact that dollar is making. How will you choose to donate your next dollar? How can you stretch that dollar to change more lives? Where can you most efficiently spend your time making a difference? Above all, remember that YOU have the power to change the world with your dollars, your time, your voice and your passions. You’ve got this, world changer!