Jump In, the Water is Fine, Or is it?
There are lots of worthy causes out there, and some really hit close to home. However, a good cause alone is not enough, there must be action AND traction, forward momentum and actual tangible change. Change and progress require resources, financial and otherwise. To be assured that a significant donation has the desired impact, there are several considerations donors need to include in their planning.
Measurements: A cup or a yard
There are a few measurement standards that can be applied to these considerations:
- Are the mission and goals of the organization parallel to yours- do you want the same thing?
- What are the metrics: what has been done, and can it be quantified some way?
- How well are the programs organized and delivered? Is there logic and thought underpinning the plans with the members, constituents, board members and other stakeholders?
- Although there is some basic inefficiencies built in to most nonprofits, how confident are you in their management staff? Are they responsive, proactive, open?
- What is their communication style: are they accessible and timely?
- What do they want?
Understanding and managing expectations is key to a satisfying and long term donor relationship.
Guidance, Not Advice
Let us help you vet the organizations you are considering. We can assure tax exemption status and filings, as well as any other background information required to make a confident choice.
Trust the facts, but follow your heart. This gift, these hopefully future gifts, needs to make you happy and offer you as much as they do the recipients. This has to be something that you want to do- not from guilt or obligation. If the concept of your gift and what it will mean honors you, then you are on the right track.
Beware of “isms!”
Just because a nonprofit has been around for a long time doesn’t mean it is doing its best; a novel approach by a new firm can be effective quickly, right off the bat.
Do the larger nonprofits, American Cancer Society, the NRA, American Stoke and Heart, UNICEF, need your donation? Perhaps it is a tiny group, but serving a community that no one else in the world even knows that is most deserving.
It can be tough to find organizations that share your values and objectives, and that will steward their funds, and yours, appropriately and effectively. From the outside, standard measurements may not apply: now big, how many, how old. The solution is to ask a different question.
It’s up to You
First off: choose the area that is important to you, not simply a reaction to a recent event. There are a million worthy causes out there, find one that resonates with you.
Ask yourself what you want from this gift, this relationship. What do you expect in return, and what do you want done with the donation? This honesty will set the stage to find the best recipient for this first gift and future donations. Clarity between you and the organization is the basis for an ongoing, and hopefully growing, benefit relationship.