Flipping through the news headlines, it's easy to feel helpless. There are so many issues that none of us can solve alone.

kid with covid mask Photo by Taylor Brandon on Unsplash

But, our money can help. Beyond helping to solve complex social problems, donating when you can has positive health benefits for the donor like decreased blood pressure and lower stress levels.

So how can you find the right charity to donate to?

What Causes Are Close To Your Heart?

There are a lot of causes that need financial support.

Ongoing needs

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These are big, complex issues that require ongoing support to solve, e.g.:

  • Medical research

  • Racial or gender equality

  • Access to education

Crisis management

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These are issues that have an immediate and pressing need, e.g.:

  • Humanitarian crises

  • Natural disasters

What's important to you? Make a list of any causes (and sub-causes) that are meaningful to you. ✅

Make A Short List

With your top 1-3 causes/sub causes, you can start identifying actual organizations that you might donate to. ✅

Make a list of organizations by:

  • Asking friends. Do they donate to any organizations related to your cause? Have they been impressed?

  • Doing a google search. Search the cause + donate. See if anything interesting comes up.

  • Checking out a charity hub, like GiveWell or a local curator like Canada Helps or Global Gift Guide.

Is A Tax Receipt Important To You?

If you want to be able to claim donations on your taxes, you'll want to make sure that you choose a registered charity who can issue a tax receipt.

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The tradeoff is that a registered charity may have more overhead costs (i.e. money going towards admin and staffing costs) than a local non-profit.

Go through your list. Get rid of any organizations that aren't important to you if a tax receipt is important. (If not, skip this step). ✅

Immediate Impact Or Something That Scales?

Your donation can fuel something with an immediate impact, or something that will build over time to impact many people. Both are valuable and come down to your preference and values.

Immediate Impact

  • Donating to a food bank can help feed a family in need

  • Relief efforts after a natural disaster can help people who have lost their home

Things that scale 📈

  • Microcredit can lift someone out of poverty and have secondary benefits to their whole community

  • A medical breakthrough can help thousands or millions of people

Go through your list. Prioritize whichever organizations meet your preference on immediate impact vs. scaling over time. ✅

Are They Legit?

Do your due diligence to make sure your money will be put to good use.

  • Google search to see reviews on the charity. Has their work been recognized by any independent organizations?

  • Investigate their funding structure. Is it clear to you how they sustain themselves financially? This transparency will help you understand how your money will be used.

  • Look at their reports. Do they share metrics to help you understand their progress and efforts?

Eliminate organizations from your list that don't meet your standards for these elements. Do any emerge as the clear winner? ✅

Take Action

Ready to make that donation?

You won't regret supporting a cause you care about. And if you have the time, consider volunteering too. You can get started here with 3 easy steps to make a volunteering plan.

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This Byte has been authored by

SZ

Sam Zimmer

Rumie Director of Learning