4 Ways to Maximize Your Charity Donations

January 17, 2014

donationsAn important aspect of having well-rounded finances is charity. Giving is generally accepted by many personal finance experts as an essential part of good money management.

Your giving, however, should be like other aspects of your financial management – an effort should be made to ensure that you are getting the best value for your dollar. Maximizing your charity donations can mean more people helped by a cause that you care about. Here are some ways to maximize your charity donations:

1. Research before you give.

In some cases, only 30 or 40 cents of every dollar given to a charity actually goes toward the people it’s supposed to help. Administrative costs, and other costs sometimes eat up the donations. Inefficient charities tend to enrich a few executives at the top without doing a lot of good overall.

Before you give, research the charities you are considering. Websites like Charity Navigator show you how much of your donation actually goes toward the cause (aim for an organization where at least 70% of the money goes to help others). Choose one to three charities that you really agree with and that are well-run, and more of your money will help more people.

2. Set up regular contributions.

Rather than giving unpredictably, you can set up regular contributions. Some charities prefer smaller, but regular, donations to erratic larger donations. You can commit to monthly donations, or even set up a charitable trust to operate in a way that provides regular income for the charity. These regular contributions can give the charity something it can rely on – and take some of the pressure off in other areas. This allows the charity to better serve those populations that need the help.

3. Go local.

One of the things that I particularly enjoy is going local with my charitable donations. You can really see the effect your donation has in your own community when you give locally. Look for local charities that make a difference right where you live. Smaller, community-based organizations often (but not always) use their resources effectively, and they can have a tremendous impact on the local population.

4. Get personally involved.

If you really want to make sure that your charity donations are doing the most good for the dollar, you can become personally involved. Donate your time as well as your money. You can help by volunteering at charitable events, and performing a number of other tasks. Another possibility is that you could be named to a charity’s board, and help make the decisions.

Becoming personally involved is a great way to maximize your charity donations and improve others’ lives. With a little research, as well as the determination to focus some of your resources on making a better world, it’s possible for you to contribute to a large amount of good in the world.

Try to make savvy decisions about your charitable donations. Look for charities that will use a bulk of your gift to help those who need it, and even take a step further and become involved in the actual workings of the charity.

Do you donate to a charity? Leave a comment and let us know your favorite!

This article was originally published December 18, 2012.

Last updated by .

Miranda

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Miranda
Miranda writes about personal finance almost every day. An experienced freelance writer, she's covered your money online and in print from every angle and is always looking for new ones.

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One Response to 4 Ways to Maximize Your Charity Donations

  • Edward Long

    Miranda -
    Your suggestions that we all focus on one to three charities and get personally involved are excellent. It’s all about focus and making a better connection with the charities we support. With fewer charities, we have more time to see and understand what they are doing, and more joy when they do well.
    Ed (aka Serious)

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