3 Ways to Properly Vet a Non-Profit Before Donating

For companies today, philanthropy has become widely popular. It is easier than ever for a business to donate their time, money, and resources to help local charities and events.

However, when it comes down to your donation, you want to make sure they are a worthy cause. Not all non-profit organizations are run effectively, and before you vet the cause, you’ll want the details.


What is Their Track Record?

Looking at the history of the non-profit can give you a good indication of whether they will be a worthy cause. Knowing the history of the organization, which other companies donate to the cause, and their overall public reputation speaks volumes.

Word of mouth goes a long way. What do companies they have worked with in the past have to say? There may be no better way to gauge your decision than to discuss it with previous donors or volunteers. If they are in good standing with those they are involved with and have proven themselves, they may be worth your time.


Do Your Research

Non-profits will state how much per donation goes directly toward their cause. To check their validity, you can use GuideStar. You can view their public financial statements. Form 990 will give a breakdown of money going in and out. It can explain the funding as well as explain precisely what the non-profit does. Additionally, you can look into how beneficiaries feel about the organization.

Also, when looking at the mission they spread, are they following through? You can look at their social media presence to see how they present themselves. You can also look to see where they are vesting their resources to serve the community in their area better.

Social media platforms, organization reviews, and published articles about them can be helpful. It can help you to filter the organizations you are interested in and find the one that you feel will benefit the most from your contribution.


Find Out Firsthand

In addition to online research, you can look for ways to become involved with charities that aren’t so time-consuming. There is no better way to validate an organization’s transparency and authenticity than experiencing it for yourself.

If you utilize your research, you are sure to find an organization you will feel empowered supporting.


A Time for Giving

For many, the holidays present a great opportunity for community service and involvement. Probably the first thing that pops into mind is the ubiquitous “toy drive”. And while that’s a pretty worthy cause, there are plenty of other ways to contribute, too! The Huffington Post gives us plenty of suggestions for making the holidays special for a stranger. Check out a few below!

Visit a Senior

For you, the holidays may be a time when the entire family comes together for warm food and warmer laughter. But for some it’s the complete opposite. As people age, sometimes bonds that were once unthinkable begin to fade. Maybe a loved one was lost, or they’ve lost touch with their children. Humans are social creatures, and not having that kind of meaningful interaction can be devastating. Those of us not in that position can only imagine how much worse that feeling is when everyone around you is filled with a certain cheer that comes with seeing family and friends. HuffPost notes that half of seniors living in nursing homes receive no holiday visitors, so it’s not hard to see how much of an impact that kind of act of love can have.


Deliver a meal

Food is such a central part of the holiday season that some people look forward to the table than they do their family! But just because you’re enjoying a delicious spread doesn’t mean everyone else is, too. Hunger still runs rampant, so what better way to spread some cheer and goodwill by giving food to those who need it most? Meals on Wheels has a volunteer program that makes it that much easier to give.


Red Cross

Sometimes the best presents are truly priceless. Each year, the Red Cross helps needy people all over the world by delivering vaccinations or emergency family packages. There are even donations you can give to support workshops that connect veterans with their families.

A New Design for Giving

If you want to succeed, you’ve got to set yourself apart. Normally this is advice we give to people who are ready to take the next step in their careers or relationships. But a team of designers is looking to apply this principle to objects— specifically, a well designed charity box.

Maggie’s, is a nonprofit group dedicated to giving cancer patient comfort and warm words of advice. It was founded in memory of Maggie Jencks, the late wife of architectural critic Charles Jencks. Naturally, many prominent designers have had a hand on a number of Maggie’s projects. Most recently, design firm Layer has stepped up to the plate of innovation.

hand dropping coin in container

The charity box designed by Layer

Their goal, as is the goal of many charities, is to get people to donate. But they noticed that many charity boxes go unnoticed in the day to day. When you go to your favorite pastry shop on the way to work, when is the last time you actually noticed the donation jar? It just blends in with the register or other items on the counter. At work, the charity vessel may be a humble coffee can which can go ignored to undiscerning eyes.

Layer is trying to reverse this desensitization by making a charity box that really stands out from the whirlwind of daily stimuli. Their new product resembles a bent vase. The shape, writes John Brownlee for Fast Company’s Design blog, is “soft and inviting, bowing almost humbly towards the giver”. The color, red, is soft enough to not be grating on the eyes, yet bright enough to set itself apart on any table, counter, or sill. The name of the charity is subtly embedded right on the lip of the jar, reminding givers exactly what they are contributing to.