Donating to charity without thinking deeply about it is like throwing rocks out into the wild with your eyes closed and hoping that you hit a bird.
Your donation is an investment. One that you make hoping that the interests gained will benefit another person who could use the help.
That is why you should put a lot of thought behind every donation, and why this list of four essential questions should be the last thing you read before making your next donation.
1. Does the charity support a cause(s) you care about?
One of the advantages of donating to charity is a sense of personal fulfillment in knowing that you are helping another human being. However, that feeling is dependent on whether or not you care about the problem that has been solved.
Your donation is not the same as losing money. It is an investment that you are making with the hope that another person will benefit.
As such, before you hit the donate button, you have to put a little more thought into it. Before donating, carefully look for a charity that is supporting a cause you care about, or one that is trying to solve a problem that you truly believe makes a difference.
If you care more about starving families than you do about veteran affairs, then donate to a charity that feeds starving families.
2. How does the charity spend its donations?
Financials are a key aspect of charities. And it should be one of the key things you investigate before donating to charity.
A transparent charity should be able to provide you with a copy of their financial reports for the past couple of years for you to scrutinize.
Asking for their financial records helps you know what percentage of their donations they use in support of their programs.
As a rule of thumb, you’d sleep better knowing that more than fifty percent or more of what you donate will go into feeding hungry families.
It also helps you weed out the bad apples so that you don’t donate to a bogus charity or a reputable charity that uses a large chunk of its donations to enrich its executives.
3. What progress has the charity made towards achieving its goals?
Even when you are donating out of generosity, you should still be concerned with what a charity has been doing in the past.
The best way to gauge a charity’s accomplishments is to check their progress in achieving their goals. If one of their goals last year was to send two thousand children to school, but they only managed to send twenty, then their math is off.
You are better off donating to a charity with a proven track record of reaching its goals. Off course you are not shooting for perfection, but you should be able to trust that the charity you are donating to is actually making a difference out there with the donations they receive.
4. How much should I donate?
This is a tricky question to answer for you.
Regardless of the nature of your donation, you are solely responsible for choosing how much you are going to give to charity, and whether or not you will donate a large chunk to one charity or divide it among multiple charities.
Most charities out there survive because of generous donors like you who are willing to chip in and try to make a difference.
Your donation doesn’t have to be much. Because you are not doing it alone, you should only donate a sum that you are comfortable with and one that won’t stretch your finances too thin.