As of 2018, there were nearly 1.6 million nonprofits registered in the United States. Wonderful though it may be for all the causes these organizations support, the sheer number of available charities can make it difficult for the average American to choose which to align with. If you’re looking for a nonprofit to support, the following tips can help you make a decision.
1. Outline your philanthropic goals.
The first and most important step in selecting a charity to support is to determine your goals for donating or volunteering. Start by looking at your values and interests. Are you passionate about animal welfare? The arts? Helping veterans? Write out a brief mission statement—this can help you narrow down your focus and make it easier to find an organization that not only aligns with your goals, but also has the biggest impact on your favorite cause.
2. Get to know its mission.
Once you start to research potential charities, you should look closely at each of their missions. Pay close attention to the way they present their values and goals. You should be able to understand exactly what they are trying to accomplish and how their programming and policies are helping them achieve that end.
3. Research potential choices.
At some point, you should narrow your choices down to a few nonprofits. Now is the time to conduct more in-depth research about each organization. Your due diligence will ensure that your money will make the greatest impact possible, and that there isn’t anything fishy going on with the organization you choose to support. To this end, look into the nonprofit’s finances, governance, and history. You can also use popular charity vetting sites like Charity Navigator and GuideStar to help with your research.