There are over 1.5 million non-profit organizations in the United States. For this reason, it can be very difficult to know which ones will make the biggest impact with your donation. There are several things you can to in order to feel good about your choices, beginning with asking yourself a few questions.
The first thing you want to do is narrow down the causes you truly feel the most passionate about. This will make you feel like you have a deeper connection with an organization. Look back on the events of your life that gave you the most joy or felt benefitted your life in a positive way. Those might be charities to support because you will be helping to provide others with these same valuable experiences. Another example might be a tragedy or a devastating loss. There are numerous organizations to support that can contribute to research or mental health assistance.
You also need to ask yourself what level of support you feel you can commit to – are you the type who will be satisfied writing a check and attending the occasional fundraiser, or are you more interested in volunteering your time and energy with more personal projects?
It’s also important to not let your heart run away with your decision-making. In times of crisis or natural disaster, its human nature to want to leap in and save the day. Instead of handing over money to unfamiliar charities, try researching if the ones you already support are doing their own fundraising for the same cause.
A lot of people struggle with wanting to help globally vs locally. It’s a personal preference, and they’re not mutually exclusive. A person can support Habitat for Humanity, for example, and still work on local projects. If you ultimately want to see first-hand how your dollar can go further, then local might be the better option. Many people enjoy taking part in marches or 5K races to be part of a community of like-minded individuals who share their feelings about a topic. That means more than seeing where their individual dollar is spent.