There are over 1.6 million nonprofit organizations, and the competition for funds has become intense. What questions should you be asking to determine where your money will do the greatest good?

  1. First, make sure the charity is a non-profit and has a 501(c)(3) status. There are several websites (such as to get this information. Those charity rating websites will also give you background information and insight into where the charity spends its funds.
  2. Second, even if you only have a small amount to give most charities are very appreciative for every dollar.
  3. Third, am I really donating my money for what it says I am? This information will also be found on most charity rating sites.  It should also be very clear on the charity website where and how funds are utilized.
  4. Fourth, generally an organization should have about 75% of its income spent on programs and supporting the mission and vision statement.
  5. Fifth, don’t let the size of the organization fool you.  Many charities are effective but small charities can be just as effective as large ones.
  6. Last but not least, give because it will make you feel a sense of goodness and fulfillment.  In a recent study by Harvard Business School entitled, “Feeling Good about Giving” the following was found to be true:
    • Giving to charity may improve your sense of well-being
    • Supporting a cause can help keep you informed about issues of social injustice and public policy
    • Giving to a charity out of spiritual conviction can strengthen your spiritual life
    • Volunteering with a charity may result in physical and social benefits
    • Donations are tax deductible