Moving America Forward

The Giving Guide: 5 Things to Ask Before Donating to a Charity (And 5 Things That Shouldn’t Discourage You)

April 17, 2014
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The Giving Guide: 5 Things to Ask Before Donating to a Charity (And 5 Things That Shouldn’t Discourage You)
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Are you in a generous mood, but overwhelmed by the sheer number of nonprofits seeking donations? Here are 10 tips for choosing the right charity.

It’s no wonder that Americans are known as the most generous people in the world. In 2012, Americans donated more than $316 billion to charity, 3.5 percent more than they did the year before — and nearly three-quarters of the money that went to public nonprofits came from individual donors.

But while many Americans are eager to support their cause, with 1.5 million nonprofits in the United States alone, it’s not always clear which organization deserves to receive their money. To help figure it out, NationSwell talked to Jennifer Chandler, vice president and director of network support and knowledge sharing at the National Council of Nonprofits, a resource and advocate for America’s charitable nonprofits. Of course, the first thing you should consider is whether the nonprofit is fiscally responsible, she says. But beyond that, Chandler outlines five other key questions to ask before choosing a charity, as well as five “problems” that shouldn’t dissuade you from giving.

MORE: Finally, a One-Stop Shop for Charity Research

Things to Ask Before Donating

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Things That Shouldn’t Discourage You From Donating

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“There’s no better way to feel good about your gift than to get to know the charitable organization as well as you can,” Chandler says. That means making informed donations by doing your research first, and focusing on a charity’s overall performance — including transparency, governance and results — instead of just one or two things, like overhead or fundraising costs. By following the 10 tips above, we hope that you’ll be even more inspired to support the nonprofits that are working hard to move this country, and others, forward.

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