This month, our CEO, Kate Azar, was quoted in an article about making sure your donation to a charity counts. The article, which focuses on National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, points out that those cute pink ribbons and pink products you see all around are not regulated. Meaning that anyone can use them. So, donor beware! Just because your favorite product - or your favorite football team - is pink this month, doesn't mean they are giving money to a good cause.
So how do you make sure your donated dollars are going where you intend? Here's a few tips:
Do your research -- You'd be surprised how many people don't even look at a nonprofit or charity's website before giving money. Whether you are giving $10 or $100,000, it's important to know how your donation is being used.
Also, there are roughly 1.5 million nonprofits in the US alone - many of which work to fight breast cancer. Researching at least a few national charities and some local organizations should be standard practice. A good nonprofit website will tell you the impact that the organization has made in the past, or at least their goals for this fundraising campaign. It is also much more rewarding to find a charity that speaks to you, your values and your interests. With a little research, you can better understand the impact your contribution has made to the cause.
Start a donor circle -- No donation is too small to make a difference (ask President Obama's Presidential fundraising team), but if you gather your friends, family or coworkers to pool together funds for a larger gift, you can make a bigger impact. Giving circles are a popular tool for smaller donors to make bigger contributions to a cause. And the charitable recipient will be grateful for your initiative. Many nonprofit fundraising teams are stretched thin, so it's impossible to have a personal relationship with each donor, but when you gather a circle of community members and boost your donation, you're more likely to receive feedback from the nonprofit and have more influence in how your gift is used.
Consider hiring a philanthropy advisor -- If you're making a single, small direct gift, a philanthropy advisor might not be for your. But if you are engaged in annual giving, donating a large cash gift or are interested in donating any non-cash gifts such as property or stocks, a philanthropic advisor can really help you find the right cause, explore options for giving your time, talent and treasure, and broker a long-term relationship that will benefit both the donor and the charity.
So tell us, how do you track your contributions? Tweet @sgstrategies