Give Where? – Giving U™

Right on chica!Where to give is a very personal decision ‘cause if you really think about it, what could be a bigger reflection of ourselves and our values than where we choose to give our money?

Find a Focus

Feel strongly about civil rights? Ending hunger? Alternative energy? How about animal welfare? Charter schools? Mosquito nets? Once you understand what motivates your giving, you’ll be able to choose an issue area that adequately represents your ideals.

Officially, there are 17 issue areas in which to choose. The Foundation Center is a great source of information on organizations working in these broad areas:

My funding focus is Women and Girls’ Rights – Find out why: Read the Post!

Choosing an Organization

When deciding on which organizations to support, ask questions like:

  • What is needed in my community?
  • Which organizations fulfill this need?
  • Which organizations meet my standards of excellence?

There are two ways to look at excellence: quantitatively and qualitatively. Quantitatively you look at a citizen sector organization’s 990 tax reports and see what percentage of the funds are going to program support vs. administrative support. You can also look at the organization’s annual report to see the budget for the last year.

Yet, this is just one narrow way to judge the effectiveness of an organization since this approach doesn’t evaluate the organizations programs or the impact it is making on the population it serves.

Also, I consider a well-run organization one that invests in infrastructure, technology systems and good personnel practices, which may decrease their percentage of dollars going to directly support programs, but increases the long-term health of the organization.

I suggest doing a bit of research and looking at a number of inputs to assess whether the organization you’re looking at is really making a significant difference:

  • Guidestar
  • Charity Navigator
  • Great Nonprofits
  • Organizational web sites
  • Interviews with program participants, volunteers, staff and donors (even one quick phone call will provide an enormous amount of information)

Learn more about giving, read the posts:

Give What?      Give How?        
Who do I give to?
             Who you give to and why — c’mon, share!  

Check out these other hot nonprofits:


This entry was posted on Saturday, May 9th, 2009 and is filed under The Giving Guide.

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