If each American made charitable donations of just $31 to provide clean drinking water to third world countries, no more lives would be lost due to dehydration or water-born pathogens in countries where clean water isn’t available currently. With donations of less than $100 per American to organizations that fought against world hunger, every man, woman, and child in the world would have enough to eat.
While it’s unlikely that these goals will be achieved in our lifetime, if every person found a way to help a cause they care about, some of the greatest needs across the world would be dramatically improved. Here are some things you should think about to make the most of your charitable giving:
- Make sure your money is going to further the cause.
All legitimate charity organizations are given 501(C)3 status by the IRS. If you want to know if an organization is a charity at all, that’s a good place to start.
However, some charity foundations that have 501(C)3 status still use most of their donations to pay administrative and operational costs rather than actually supporting the intended cause. If you want to make sure your donation is going to further the cause you care about, it’s a good idea to check them out on Give.org, the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance database of charity reports. As a rule of thumb, the best charities to donate to will use less than 35% of their donations for administrative costs.
- How to Make a Difference When You Don’t Have Any Extra Money
If you don’t have any extra room in your budget to make cash donations, donating clothing to charity is a great way to help! In fact, by donating clothing to charity, the impact you make might go further than give the cash value anyways. Some of your goods will literally put clothes on the back of people in need. Some of your clothing donations will be sold in a thrift store, and the cash will go to the cause, just as if you gave the cash from your pocket. As a third multiplier, by donating clothing to charity, you’re giving families with limited resources the ability to buy low cost clothes, making more room in their budget to cover their needs.
- Don’t Feel Bad if You Don’t Donate a Dollar at Every Cash Register
Many organizations take a scattershot approach at raising funds. When your cashier asks if you want to give a dollar to support such and such organization, you say yes out of a sense of obligation, as do 5,000 other shoppers, raising a sizable fund for the organization.
By all means, give a dollar if you feel compelled to. However, this can be an unsatisfying way to make the world a better place. If you aren’t feeling it, it’s better if you politely answer, “Thanks, but my charitable donations go to specific organizations I care about.” When you then actually get the sense of goodwill that comes with making a contribution to a cause you feel passionate about, it inspires you to continue helping, which has a greater global impact in the long run.
What organizations do you support? What factors do you consider when finding organizations to help? Please share your input with us in the comment section below.