Like you, I want to donate to an organization that is doing good work and will do good things with my money. Surprisingly, that’s not a very easy thing to do. There are a couple challenges in making wise donations.
Our lives are busy with jobs, families, and other responsibilities. So even though I want to research an organization, it’s difficult to find the time to put in the necessary work to make a good choice. In addition, I typically donate a small amount of money, and so when I weigh the time needed to make sure my donation is wise with the $25 I plan to donate, I often figure it’s more important to donate than to donate right, so I just send my money. Yes, I know I’m lazy, but let’s be realistic. Time is scarce.
There are a lot of resources that I could check, and yet none of them are comprehensive. Great Non Profits rates charities based on user reviews. GiveWell attempts to analyze the impact of the charities programs. The Better Business Bureau rates charities according to an extensive set of criteria. The American Institute of Philanthropy has their own set of guidelines.
These are only some of the resources out there. In each case, you’ll find organizations where they disagree with each other or organizations they haven’t ranked. It’s a lot for a small donator to sort through to make the right choices.
The solution? Donate with others!
When you pool your donations, you’ll end up giving a lot more than $25 to a charity. When the dollar amount goes up, so does the desire to make a good choice about which organization to donate to. And when you donate with others, you share the responsibility of researching and choosing where to donate. You benefit from others’ research, insight, and experience. The knowledge and power possible in community is far greater than that which resides in a single individual.