Your Philanthropy: Part I
Tis the season! Doing charitable giving “right” can involve finding the right balance, for you, of several factors. Here are a few:
1. WHEN 1: While end-of-the-year gifts are certainly appreciated, committing to giving consistently, over time, helps a charity operate better and do more.
2. WHEN 2: I donate relatively small amounts to several organizations every month, and have for many years. I’ve given more this way than I ever would be able to do otherwise.
3. SIZE 1: The difference between what $500 means to an entity with a smaller budget, and one with a larger one can be profound. Consider assessing the size of your gift in relation to the organization’s overall income.
4. SIZE 2: There are many organizations that are primarily government or foundation funded. Consider the impact of your $100 or even $1000 donation on a $3M budget which is 95% provided by grants.
5. FOCUS: It can be edifying to support an entity focused on providing much-needed services. That said, there are many organizations that are working to change policies, attitudes and practices and address the sources of the problem.
6. RESEARCH: I realize this probably already sounds like a lot of work. By law, nonprofit organizations have to file annual financial reports with the IRS (“990s”) which are publicly available. Websites like Charity Navigator and Guidestar aggregate this, and other information. They can be a good place to start, but not finish your investigations. More on that next week.