Contributing Mindfully to Nonprofits

With 1.5 million nonprofits in the US, it can be hard to find the best fit to volunteer or donate to. It’s important to consciously contribute to a program that has an impact that is aligned with your personal priorities. Here’s how to find and give mindfully. 


First, you should identify the type of cause that you are most passionate about. For example, the environment or education. There’s no need to specify beyond a broad category at this point. Once you find a type of cause you care about you should think about the kind of contributions you can make. Are you more interested in volunteering, donating, or giving another type of help? 


If you plan on volunteering, you should check your schedule and see when you have time. There is a need for any time you can give, even if it’s highly variable. Volunteering online can be a great option for people with irregular schedules. If you have a consistent time you can volunteer, find it now. 



If you would like to give financially or other types of help, evaluating your budget or other resources to identify what can feasibly be given. Decide if you’d like to give a regular donation on an interval or if donating will be a one time or infrequent activity. If you donate to a nonprofit make sure to get a receipt that shows your contribution so that you can deduct it from your taxes later. 



Next, you should begin to identify the impact you hope your contribution will bring. This is when you should begin to specify a niche within the overall type of nonprofit you’re looking for. Research is important at this stage so that you know what types of problems are most pressing to you at the moment. and are great resources to help research nonprofits. 


When you have identified the problem you want your contribution to aid, you’re ready to start looking at nonprofits. Here’s what to look for:


  1. A clear goal and plan to get there. Ideally, they should show the progress they’ve made. 

  2. Transparency about their finances and organization. It’s important to note that a larger overhead shouldn’t necessarily cut a nonprofit from your list! Nonprofits need to rent spaces and pay full-time employees just like any business. Transparency is important here so that you can understand the full picture of the organization. Many nonprofits have a finance page on their website.

  3. They should communicate well. If you have questions or reach out to a volunteer coordinator they should be responsive. Additionally, they should not heavily pressure you to give to them. 


You’re now ready to give your best contribution to the world! No matter how small you might think it is, every contribution makes a difference.


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