Its Donation Season
The last three months of the year are the busiest time for fundraising; your email and snail mail boxes will be brimming with asks. All year long nonprofits have been working hard to polish these crucial end-of-the-year solicitations to be as compelling and irresistible as possible.
Most people have 3-4 charities or causes they tend to support more or less regularly with whom they are comfortable: school, church/temple, animal shelter, your kid’s stuff.
New causes, organizations and charities pop up all the time, how can you decide if this new organization is a good fit for your charitable goals?
Here are a few steps to take before you make any size donation.
1. Do the obvious first: check their website.
- Do they have an address and phone number?
- Are the vision and mission statements clear and meaningful?
- Who are the leaders and who/what are the recipients?
2. Resist the pressure to give ‘on the spot’.
- Emails are always urgent,
- telemarketers invade your phone space,
- people knock on your door or
- you can get hit up at an event.
It is easy to cave in to pressure or get swept up in the moment; resist the temptation. A moment of hesitation now can prevent hours of regret later. Trust me, they will wait if you really are prepared to give.
3. Peek behind the curtain.
Some of the most beautiful and heartbreaking images and language can mask a lack of material work by the organization. Be a little skeptical of big broad statements and promises. If it seems too good to be true, it is.
- Who is directly benefiting from their work?
- Are their results tangible and visible?
- Talk is cheap, look for the progress they are making toward their stated goals.
4. Follow up.
- Once you have made the gift, notice how and when you receive acknowledgement, a thank you and see how the org communicates with you over time.
- Do you get updates on their work, a newsletter, or simply another ask?
- Pay attention to what they do, who they do it with and for and how well.
The Holy Grail of Donations…
…is the second one. Nonprofits depend on the generosity of donors, the statistics for a donor giving a second gift are shockingly low, roughly one third who give, give again. Which means that TWICE that number of people don’t give again.
Notice how your first donation is treated and decide if they deserve more from you.
For more information about smart and thoughtful giving, check out the Wise Giving Guide.
Overall, thank you for wanting to give and support organizations that work to improve our world. It is hard work, it is important work. Holding organizations asking for your money accountable assures you that your gifts are well used.
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as always, thanks for reading, its a big deal
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