SGS In The News: Make Sure Your Donation Counts

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

What Is A Philanthropic Advisor

I often find myself explaining what a philanthropic advisor does. People are always interested in the job, much for the same reason I love my work.  After all, I get to help people change the world! While the philanthropic advising industry is not new, there aren't many people offering these types of services.  In the US, there are more than 260,000 financial advisors available to help people make sounds financial investments, but there are fewer than 1,000 professionals available to help the public make wise philanthropic donations.  That number is astonishing given that there are more than 1.5 million nonprofits in the US alone.  So, what does a philanthropic advisor do?

Many of us have financial planners, investment or wealth advisors to guide us in our financial investments. Similarly, a philanthropic advisor helps you define your values and dreams for the world and build a philanthropic strategy for accomplishing those goals.  At Social Good Strategies, we help you decide where your philanthropic investments should be made to create the intended impact. Together, we identify your values, draft a mission statement, and get clear on what success looks like to you. Then we help you identify philanthropic opportunities that align with your goals and values. We make sure you have the information you need to make sound philanthropic investment decisions and track your results. 

Certainly, a philanthropic advisor isn't for everyone but philanthropic strategy should be. Whether you are giving away $1 thousand or $1 million, you should be thoughtful about the impact your money makes. A philanthropic advisor can help you be more effective in your giving. Read more about the services we offer here