Who Deserves Your Charitable Donations?

by Miranda Marquit · 8 comments


The recent recession has put a damper on charitable giving in many cases. Some charities have been reporting that donations have been down since the recession began, even with the tax deduction that can come with giving. However, even in good economic times, it seems as though there are always new charities vying for our attention — and our dollars. Many of us want to give, but we can’t give to every charity that comes along. How do you know who deserves your charity?

Consider Your Passions

Instead of simply giving to everyone who asks, or turning down everyone who asks, you can consider your passions. Think about what is important to you, and what causes you would like to support. Some people know those affected by cancer, and so donate to charities related to the disease.

I think that education is important, so I donate to an education fund set up by my church. This fund offers low interest loans to those who cannot afford an education. The repaid money goes back into the fund to be used again. I also donate to my church’s humanitarian fund, which sends food, clothing and other aid to catastrophe stricken countries, as well as providing regular hygiene kits to those who need them around the world.

Go Local

While I like to donate to these global causes, I also think it is important to help out in your own community. If you are concerned about needs in your community, you can look to local charities and churches. Our biggest donations (outside church) go to the local food bank. We donate money, as well as food. We enjoy seeing that our donations do good in the community, helping people that live right here. We have also donated clothing, toys and hygiene items to the local women’s shelter.

Look around. Does your community have a soup kitchen? A homeless shelter? A children’s home? Think about what you can do in your community to make a difference, and think about your passions. Get direction from a church leader or community leader about where needs are, and help. You don’t even have to donate money when you work locally. The donation of your time can be just as valuable.

Charity Navigator

In some cases, figuring out who to donate to can be tough because you want to be sure the money is going mostly to the cause. When you donate locally, you can see how your donations make a difference. With national charities, though, it can be harder to see those donations at work. One way you can determine whether a charity is providing a valuable service is by making use of CharityNavigator.org. This is a site that helps you search charities and find their efficiency rating.

Charity Navigator looks at how much is spent on the program, as well as how much is spent on fund raising and overhead. You can figure out how much of your donation is actually going to a cause. I actually stopped donating to a charity after finding how much was going to fund raising — and how much was going to CEO salary. I figured that my money could be better used by boosting donations to the local food bank, and to my church’s humanitarian fund.

How do you decide who gets your charitable donations?

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

marci357 November 16, 2010 at 8:26 am

I guess I just figure the closer to home, the better…
1. you can check out the figures up close and personal
2. you can see the results in person and know you helped.
3. we are a tiny rural community – it’s what we do best – help our neighbors.

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vered November 16, 2010 at 10:11 am

I always use Charity Navigator to make sure the charities that appeal to me are efficient. Our giving budget is fairly fixed, but since the recession has hit, I’ve been allocating more of the funds to charities that help homeless people get back on their feet. I really like shelternetwork.org (it’s also local).

In honor of family members who had been through hell during the Nazi occupation of Europe, I also give to charities that help support holocaust survivors, especially jfcs.org – they enable you to specify that your donation should go to holocaust survivor support and not to other (however worthy) causes.

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Jenna November 16, 2010 at 4:29 pm

The charities that I am already involved with. That I have donated to in the past or that my friends are involved with.

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Elton John November 16, 2010 at 4:49 pm

It always pays to give donations on churches than those charity institutions. There are lots of charity organizations that are front for something else. Thus I give my donations at local churches and to those known and trusted international charity organizations.

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Mark November 16, 2010 at 9:46 pm

I am a big believer in investing where your heart lies. You can change the life of someone by improving their living conditions or eradicating a disease just by being generous.

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Glenn November 18, 2010 at 2:09 pm

I do not give to charities as I think GIVING promotes IRRESPONSIBILITY. However, I do support people in need who can help themselves. You can too follow my lead. Here’s a free $20 MicroPlace gift certificate.
You can earn a return while making loans to the world’s working poor. http://is.gd/cTqM3

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Joshua Jones August 22, 2011 at 11:20 am

Hi my name is Joshua Jones and i was trying to find a company that will donate food to my church. Food like can goods and frozen products. I wanted to get this food donated so that i can give it to the people in the neighborhood to try and earn grants to held rebuild my church. My church is very old its been around since 1803 and its needs much work done to it and the members includeing myself do not have the funds needed to do the job. So im asking that you will give us a hand and donate food so maybe we can earn grants to get the things that is needed. If you will email me back at jjones38@jjc.edu and let me know. Thank you for your time.

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OTA BETHEL May 2, 2012 at 8:19 pm

Dear…………….

As Someone who is in a leadership position at your company, I know that you’re passed for time. But please, could you give me your full attention for the next 30 seconds as you read this letter?
We are from Indonesia and I,Hendrik, am writing to you on behalf Bethel Foster Parent Church, under shade of the department of Human Service Bethel Church Indonesia that is working to help Children have a future through education. We estimate that today there are millions Kids in our country doesn’t have opportunity to enjoy educational. Children are unable to attend school because of poverty. Education is a major key to releasing people from poverty. Our organization is dedicate to help children to get it, but we need your help.
Your donation will help the children in Indonesia achieve its goals. You can be apart of that exciment by supporting our children with a Rp.50.000,- ($ 50) every month for one person, and a lot of children need some help.Without money, families are unable to send their children to school or afford uniforms and books.
I would like to thank you for considering this opportunity to partner with our organization. If you have any questions or need further information, you can send our email : otabethel1@yahoo.co.id or visit our website : misi-pelmasgbi.org.

Jakarta, May,04,2012

Kind Regards :

A.R.Hendrik,M.Th
OTA Bethel Staff

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