Thoughtful Philanthropy Part 1
Resources for Making a Plan
Giving to worthy causes is inspirational and personally rewarding. Your donation (or volunteer efforts) can truly change someone’s life. Yet this may be an area that you haven’t had time to fully define. There are great causes, so many needs, often urgent ones. As resources, interests and passions change over time, the charitable “plan” can constantly evolve. How much, to what, and when? Cash, appreciated property, and/or time? if you are seeking new ideas for giving, we hope you find the resources listed below helpful. In Part II we touch on some of the tax considerations of using different strategies.
The Center for High Impact Philanthropy and GiveWell have some great resources to offer, including additional links to aid your research, including this TED talk on Amplify the Money you Give. Highly impactful areas include helping to provide vaccinations, promoting children’s literacy and environmental health, reducing hunger and food insecurity, urban renewal and disaster relief.
Eager to direct dollars to your local community? Google your town or region by areas of interest for a list of charities, then evaluate them using Charity Navigator (more below). Fundraising events and volunteering can reveal additional information about a charity’s focus and initiatives. There are also foundations that can offer a menu of local non-profits to which you can direct dollars, not only in one calendar year, but over time with a larger gift.
Check your charity’s efficacy. We frequently make donations assuming our dollars are going to be effectively put to the cause we intended. Unfortunately, some charities aren’t as effective as others in funneling dollars to programs. The on-line tool, Charity Navigator, presents effectiveness scores two dimensionally – on financial health and accountability and transparency. Charities are grouped by categories to assist in identifying organizations that match your interests. There are great resources on topics like avoiding pitfalls in giving in times of crisis, highly rated charities with game-changing proposals, donating non-cash items and a list of charities that overpay for fundraising.