The post-Thanksgiving daily blitz of Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday will wrap-up with Giving Tuesday - an opportunity to support your favorite nonprofit or 501c3. In order to make your dollar stretch as far as possible, we have a quick and easy methodology to determine *how* to give. The goals are really simple:
1) Turn your dollar into $2 (or more!) via matching programs; and,
2) Have your funds directly support the mission of the organization - avoiding organizations with huge management salaries or fundraising overhead.
We're not here to tell you *where* to give, but providing a few tips and tricks can ensure your money is both amplified and actually making a difference.
Goal #1: Turn Your Dollar Into Something Greater
Finding corporations willing to match your donation isn't as easy as one may expect. Try following your favorite charities on social media, and if they have a corporate or donor matching partner - they'll be eager to share the news.
You can visit https://doublethedonation.com/giving-tuesday/ to check if your or your spouse's employer will match gifts. For example, if I select General Electric, Double the Donation will provide information on their matching program. If not, then a little digging will provide other options on companies that are matching which nonprofit. For example, World Vision and PAWS Chicago both have matching donors, so for every dollar you give - it's magically turned into two! Check out some examples below:
Goal #2: Funds Directly Supporting the Mission
Unfortunately, not all nonprofits are savvy with their budget. Some of the largest nonprofits have salaries for their management that are several hundreds of thousands of dollars. Most people don't want to donate to support lavish lifestyles of nonprofit executives - and instead - they want their money to directly support the mission of the organization.
Alternatively - some nonprofits have trim leadership budgets, but they may have heaps of administrative or fundraising expenses. It's not uncommon for 70% of every dollar raised being attributed to the cost of raising that dollar. This means a small fraction of your dollar is going to help the cause of the organization. In the table above, the 4th column indicates the percentage of the dollar that's going to programs. In the nonprofit world, this is referring to the funds that help support the mission. So at Rainforest Trust, around 94.6% of your dollar would be helping preserve our rain forests. Combined with the corporate giving - this is $1.89 for every dollar. Not shabby!
But how do you find this information? Charity Navigator is a fantastic way to start. It provides quick, at-a-glance, statistics of the overall financial effectiveness of a nonprofit or NGO. For example, for PAWS Chicago we can see this information. The 89.9% is a really, really good number; meaning that 89.9% of it's expenses funds the programs. In other words - the mission that the nonprofit is helping. The higher the number, the better.
Also, this organization is also super-transparent. Check out this nifty chart (also part of Charity Navigator). It's both extremely financially effective, and transparent. In summary, this is appears to be a really solid organization. In combination with the matching funds, if you give a buck, $1.80 will go towards helping our furry friends find a home in Chicago.
As mentioned above, this article isn't intended to tell you where to give, but some helpful pointers on how to do your own research.
If any questions, let us know in the comment section below!