What Should I Consider When Donating to a Charity?

Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis

Donating to a charity can be a wonderful way to use your resources to help others. Whichever cause you choose to support, you will have the knowledge that you have aided important work in a meaningful way. Yet there are so many excellent organizations in need, donating to a charity may become very confusing as you try to choose which group could best use your help. Understanding your priorities as well as the history and purpose of the charitable organization can make donating to a charity much easier and more rewarding.

Focus on an area you would like to fund, such as feeding the hungry.
Focus on an area you would like to fund, such as feeding the hungry.

Choose the area that you would like to fund with your donation. For some people it’s animal rights and conservation, for others it is cancer research or feeding the hungry. Donating to a charity that you have a great passion and empathy for will help make your gift more meaningful for you.

Giving to clothing drives are a popular form of donating.
Giving to clothing drives are a popular form of donating.

Decide if you want to give to a local charity, a nationwide, or international organization. Your community or those nearby may be in need of your help. Giving locally can improve the world of your daily life, and gives you great opportunities to donate time instead of or along with money. Spending a day painting a local children’s club, or cleaning up a nearby river may not seem as effective as giving money, but it can make a real impact on the place you live.

Donating to charity requires a lot of effort on the part of the donor to ensure that the donated funds are going to a good cause.
Donating to charity requires a lot of effort on the part of the donor to ensure that the donated funds are going to a good cause.

National and international organizations are great for helping large-scale problems across the world. If you come from a prosperous country, you may be able to do more good by helping nations that are still in need of basic human services, like medical care, food, and roads. If you are interested in donating to charity that is environmentally based, certain resource-heavy regions of the world are important to protect, like the Amazon rainforest in South America. If you want to make an impact on environmentalism in the most necessary places, you will likely have to choose an international organization.

Once you have chosen the field and locale of the cause you would like to help, do some research. Make sure that the organization you are giving to does not have any practices you find unacceptable. Many people wish to support medical causes, but feel they are unable to because of their ethical stance on stem cell research or animal testing. Others will avoid some animal activist groups because of their history of disruptive protests or illegal activities. Most countries have an oversight committee with detailed records on the history and compliance level of all charities.

Most charities must disclose their financial records as a matter of legal procedure. Check into these carefully; some “charities” are in truth only giving a small percentage of donated money to their claimed cause. Careful research will give you peace of mind, knowing that your money is going to help your preferred cause rather than to make the workers at the charity wealthy.

One of the best ways to help fight any good cause is by donating to a charity. Many of us are too busy with our work and our daily lives to be able to give the time or effort necessary to actually go and help fight hunger in Africa, or save tigers in Asia, or research cancer. You can make a difference to a cause with your monetary donation, as it allows experts in the field to continue their good works. Donating to a charity requires a little effort on your part to make sure your money is going to the right place, but you will be recompensed in knowing that you have helped a worthy cause out of the goodness of your heart.

Donations do not have to be monetary in nature.
Donations do not have to be monetary in nature.
Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis

With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica is passionate about drama and film. She has many other interests, and enjoys learning and writing about a wide range of topics in her role as a wiseGEEK writer.

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Discussion Comments

RocketLanch8

I usually donate clothes to a local charity, but lately I've heard of people donating a car or a boat or even a house to charity. Someone even told me a story about donating a timeshare to charity. I assume the charity used the rental income as funding.

I try to limit my charitable donations to local charities and church-based organizations, but occasionally I'll make a donation to national veterans' groups or to international causes such as Amnesty International or Voice of the Martyrs.

Inaventu

One thing I consider before I donate to a charity are its partnerships. Many successful charities have established relationships with other organizations that can help them achieve their goals. I like to see relief charities that have connections to nonprofit medical groups and food companies, for example. That way I know that my donation will not just pay for advertising and overhead costs.

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