7 Questions To Ask Before Donating to a Charity
Many of us have at least one cause near to our hearts. We search out organizations led by individuals who share our mindsets so we can see that change in our community. Before giving to an organization, there are a few questions to ask yourself. Read this guide to understand what you should look for before donating to a charity.
What Is Their Mission?
One of the first things you’ll want to know about the organization is its mission. What are they striving to do for the community? Usually, you can find this information on their website home page or under the “About Us” tab. Some organizations also have a page on their website explaining their mission statement and history.
Why Their History Matters
Most individuals start charities because they see an opportunity to make a change in the community and want to help. Sometimes, these stories are touching or relatable. By reading about an organization’s history, you better understand the people behind the scenes that run the charity.
What Are Their Goals?
Every type of organization has goals, whether it’s a business or a nonprofit. You should investigate a charity’s pursuits to compare them to what they’ve done. Let’s say you want to help a local foodbank and, in your search, come across a promising charity. Below, we’ve explained an objective and what you should look for.
- Goal: We strive to end food insecurity for families in our community!
- Look for: How many families they’ve helped and successful fundraisers they’ve done.
If the foodbank has helped dozens of families in their specified area and regularly holds fundraisers, you can trust its reputation. However, the organization isn’t as reliable if the charity has been around for years and fails to support others.
Short-Term and Long-Term Goals
Most charities have both short-term and long-term goals. Let’s take another look at our foodbank example. The nonprofit may want to assist an additional 20 families in your county by the end of the year; within two years, they may want to see food insecurity decrease by a specified percentage.
As you look at an organization’s goals, remember to consider both short-term and long-term goals as you gauge whether this is the right cause to donate to.
What Programs Do They Have?
After evaluating its mission statement and goals, it’s time to see the charity’s programs. Some organizations only have one program, but others have several depending on the area of focus.
For instance, a charity focused on helping elementary-aged children may have a program focused on school supplies; this may get special attention in the summer. But they may also focus on raising money to ensure all children have access to food because nourishing the body keeps the mind sharp. This same charity could have programs focused on collecting gifts for all enrolled children in winter. This way, those kiddos share their peers’ excitement for the holidays.
Take time to read through the programs and goals of each that the charity makes available on their website. This can also help you better understand their mission, plus how the organization spends monetary donations.
How Are Funds Allocated?
Investigating what a charity does with monetary donations is among the most important things to look into. As much as we’d love to believe that all nonprofits use our money to drive their programs, this isn’t always the case. Sometimes, these organizations use a lot of money on advertising, and in the worst-case scenario, the charity’s CEOs and workers use it as a paycheck.
Websites like Charity Navigator make the research much easier for donors. All you have to do is type the organization in question into the search bar. From here, some of the many things you can view include:
- The organization’s rating
- Whether the charity follows their mission
- Finance transparency
- Whether they make salaries public information
All of this is vital information that gives you a better understanding of the charity. Trying to gather all this information on your own can be time consuming, but with helpful websites like Charity Navigator, you can get the key details within a few clicks.
What Items Are Accepted?
Giving to charities is important, but you must make sure you donate the right things. A clothing-based donation charity won’t take large furniture and vice versa. Read through their website to see if they list what contributions they accept. If you can’t find this information, call them or send an email to inquire about what kinds of items they’ll take. It’s always better to check and know for sure than assume and give them something they cannot use.
Donate to Us
Project B Green is a for-profit organization serving Maryland, the District of Columbia, and Northern Virginia. We partner with various local charities to collect in-kind donations on their behalf and monetize those donations to support the organization’s missions. You can make multiple types of in-kind donations to us, such as:
- Home decor
If you live in or around Annandale, VA, bring your gently used belongings to our donation drop-offcenter.
Are There Preferred Times for Giving?
Technically, you can give and should give to a good cause any time of year. However, some charities need your help more during specific times of the year. An education-based nonprofit will need more school supplies at the end of summer than in the dead of winter since classes start around September.
On the other hand, charities that need clothing will always need as much as you can give. This is because we all need clothes, and some don’t have the money to buy new attire. However, more people make donations around the holidays because it’s the season of giving.
If you’re unsure whether it’s the best time to give, call the charity and ask them. Chances are, they’ll happily take the items you’d like to provide them with. If they don’t have space for physical donations, you can hold off for the month or make a monetary donation.
How Else Can You Help?
The final thing you should ask before donating to a charity is how else you can help. You may not be in a financial standing where monetary donations are possible. Additionally, you may not have anything you can give away.
Many charities need volunteers to help organize donations, write grant letters, or respond to donors. Likewise, they may also encourage people to run their fundraisers and can supply you with everything needed for this. Nothing feels as good as helping others, and charities rely on donors to help them complete their mission.