Financial contributions are a primary way that people make an impact. Supporting an infrastructure that already exists is easy, productive, and creates an instant impact when the money changes hands. Why wait to create a chance to make a difference when you can plug into something that is already up and running? Professional organizations have mastered the path to making an impact and can continue to do so with your small and large contributions pooled together with others.

As social media has evolved, so has reporting. Now more than ever, it’s possible to read reviews of nonprofits and agencies that rely on donated dollars and fundraising to balance their budgets. It takes much more than a good sales pitch to get into someone’s pocketbook. Unscrupulous tactics can be exposed more readily today, making it easier to verify the validity of the places we support.

Care needs to be taken to do a little research and verify the mission and activities of an agency before making a financial commitment. Doing your homework is easy and helps you to see where even a small donation can have a big impact.

How do you begin to narrow down the wide range of options to ensure you financially support a good cause?

People generally want to help those who have a pain point similar to their own. Consider what you have overcome or what burdens you have had to bear. Then seek out organizations and groups that target those same issues. Once you’ve selected, do some research and determine what sort of track record they have for making a difference and using their funds wisely.

Things to look at before making financial contributions:

What is the mission of the organization? The organization’s mission should be available to the public and match the activities that they engage in.

Is the organization public or private? This isn’t a deal-breaker, but public entities generally have a more diverse board of directors and public meetings or produce annual reports for review.

Do they have bad press for a reason? Some organizations have been spotlighted for shady practices or for not managing their donations in a forthright manner. Some of the most mainstream nonprofits have been criticized for mismanagement of funds.

Does their mission align with yours? If the organization’s mission matches yours, you are far more likely to stay connected and donate over a length of time. This alignment creates a sense of community and sustains the giving relationship.

Does too much income go to support administrative costs? Sadly, some of the biggest agencies suffer from having too many administrative costs that erode the income brought in through donations. It is vital to determine what percentage of donated dollars go to making a direct impact. Many organizations make a point of highlighting how much of your donation goes directly to the cause.

Is your donation one-time or ongoing? Can you become a partner for life or just a one-time supporter? Consider the programs, places, and companies you use consistently. Since you are already engaged with these organizations, it makes practical sense to spend your dollars on their long-term success. Consider making smaller, consistent contributions rather than one big one.

Are there opportunities for other forms of involvement? One of the best ways to keep a long-term commitment and see the difference is to become involved outside of purely financial contributions. See if there is a way to participate in other areas of the organization and become more familiar with how your dollars are making an impact.

Being a financial supporter is an excellent way to make an impact when your time and energy are a limited commodity. You can easily find an organization that fits your personal mission and passion. Do your homework, and enjoy making a difference through donation.

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