Charitable Donation Advice
Charitable Donation Advice is a regularly recurring column here at Change Gangs. We know that donating is serious business, and if we want our donations to make a difference, then we need to do a little leg work. What kind of challenges do people like us face when it comes to making smart charitable donations?
Challenges Everyday People Face In Making Great Donations
People like us donate a lot of money. Seriously! Billions of dollars a year. It might not feel like it, because we’re never in the news for it. You know who is in the news? People like Bill Gates. Did you know that in 2007, donations from individuals added up to $229 billion dollars which was 114.5 times MORE than the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. If we waited for the government or the rich to to fix our problems with their money, we’ll be waiting a long time.
Charities need us! They depend on people like us to do their important work.
When we donate, it’s money that we work hard for. Money we donate is money that we can’t spend on our families or save for our retirement. We owe it to ourselves to make sure our dollars make an impact on the world, and we owe it to the world to make sure the money we’re donating doesn’t end up hurting the very people we want to help.
Small donors like us though have some serious challenges.
Challenge One: Research
When Bill Gates makes a donation, he has teams of people researching the problem and the charities so that when he decides to act, he knows his donation is going to make an impact.
Be honest…. Have you ever made a donation and didn’t bother to do any research? Me, too. I haven’t done research because I was too busy, it was too hard, I didn’t know where to look, or I trusted the reputation of the organization. But there are very real and very bad consequences of making a bad donation.
As an everyday person with a job, family, and other responsibilities, I wonder, “Where do I go to research? What do I even look for? Oh, and when am I supposed to have the time to do this?”
Challenge Two: The Amount
Bill Gates is donating a lot of money, and the sheer volume of money that he puts towards a problem makes an impact. But when I make a $25 donation to the Red Cross, I don’t really feel like I’m making an impact on the Red Cross or on the causes that they support.
But remember, I’m a part of something much bigger than myself. My small donation is HUGE! But the truth is when I donate a small amount by myself, I’m not making as big an impact as I could if I were donating a larger amount with a group of people.
Challenge Three: Time
Do you feel like there is always more to do than you have time for? Me too! My to-do list is long. My responsibilities are many. Plus, I’d really like to enjoy myself and do fun things. Where in this list am I supposed for find time for making donations at all, let alone do the research necessary to make sure I’m not throwing my money away?
Well, don’t go it alone. Share the work with friends, family, with other people who care about the same cause. Create a donation team and share the work of discovering which charities deserve your money. Here, our virtual giving circles have a Donation Committee. If you have the time and desire, you can serve on the committee. If you don’t, don’t.
But you know that research is being done on the charities before the donation is made. You know that they are educating themselves on the problem, so that you’ll fund programs that will actually make an impact. And you’ll be making a larger group donation than you could do alone.
Join a giving circle around a cause you care most about and make small donations that make a BIG impact!