Making Your List and Checking it Twice… How to Choose a Charity to Support with Your Hard-Earned Cash

The holidays are fast approaching, which means “‘tis the season” … for year-end charitable giving. There are many nonprofits that are deserving and greatly need your charitable contribution. How do you decide who to bless with a financial contribution during this season?

I have worked in a variety of roles throughout the region and country where I have been on the asking side of charitable giving. It has always been important to me professionally and personally to make sure that the charity I was representing was a good steward of the gifts received (money donated). A mentor once told me that as fundraisers, we are on the receiving end of a person’s hard-earned income and must carefully steward all donations. Stewardship simply means the job of supervising or taking care of something. I want people to give from the heart when they make a charitable donation. There should be some sort of affinity for the mission of the nonprofit. Something about what the nonprofit does to improve lives should resonate with your heart. I also want donors to give smartly and wisely. There are over 1.5 million nonprofit organizations in the United States. According to Wild Apricot, a tech solution company for nonprofits, two-thirds of donors do zero research before giving to a nonprofit. This amazes me and makes me shake my head.

You should consider when making a nonprofit donation the very important task of stewardship. As a donor, do your research about the nonprofit you are giving a gift to. ‘How do I do that,’ you ask?
If you are a donor and thinking about what nonprofits in Denton County and beyond you want to bless with a year-end donation here are some important tips to consider: Do Your Research about the Nonprofit. I use Charity Navigator to research nonprofits. Charity Navigator helps millions of people take action and support the causes they care about by connecting them to the best charities that align with a donor’s passions and values. (charitynavigator.org/) Charity Navigator provides data that helps a donor understand how a nonprofit is spending their money. They let you know the cost-effectiveness and overall health of a charity. The metrics inform donors of not just where their dollars are going but what their dollars are doing. 

This is important to me and points back to stewardship. Does the charity have a track record of being a good steward of my hard-earned money? Charity Navigator uses a star rating system that communicates the charity’s effectiveness. Give to Charities You Volunteer With Our time is one of our most valuable commodities. The story of the Good Samaritan tells us to give of our time, talent, and treasure. The doorway to giving is through volunteerism. If you want to know what a nonprofit’s mission is like, start by volunteering. Serving as a volunteer will help you understand the mission and the effectiveness of the nonprofit. I also believe that volunteerism is a great way to teach our children about giving back to our community. Data from the National Philanthropic Trust tells us that when parents give to charity, then their children are more likely to become altruistic and charitable when they become adults. But also make sure you do your research regarding the charity’s financial health and transparency. Give to Charities that Warm Your Heart Something about the holiday season prompts people to give more than at any other time of the year. For one, the holiday spirit inspires gift-giving, selflessness, and a sense of community.

I always encourage people to give to a charity that creates that special warming in their hearts. When choosing a charity to donate to, consider the mission of the organization, who it serves, and who organized the organization. And does your heart feel warm when you think about the charity, the people it serves, and the staff that help carry out the mission of the charity day to day? If it does, then that’s a charity to support! As we get closer to the holidays, may we all feel surrounded with love, family, laughter, and the blessings of our community. With gratitude for all charities and nonprofits in Denton County and beyond, Mary Worthington

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