If you’re looking for Mr. or Mrs. “Right” you know it can be hard. So is finding the right charity to give your time and money to. Whether you’re an individual or a company, you want a long-term relationship with your nonprofit.
Similar to dating, there are a lot of “fish” out there and the nonprofit world is no different. There are 1.5 million nonprofits in the United States vying for the same funds, grants, or corporate dollars. And even the wealthiest of individuals and companies can’t give to them all. So how do you vet a nonprofit to make sure it’s the right nonprofit for you or your company?
1. Websites: There are a variety of sites that specialize in vetting nonprofits from their financials and impact to organizations that have vetted specific projects that you can easily be a part of. The list below serves as a resource for you or your corporate philanthropy program.
2. Foundations: Big corporate or family foundations like the Knight Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Bank of America Foundation, Community Foundations in your city and many others have large staff dedicated to vetting nonprofits. This is important because as an individual and/or small business, you may not have the time and resources to research a nonprofit in its entirety. A reputable foundation that funds or partners with a charity is a good indication that your dollars would be put to good use.
3. Articles/Blogs: The Laura Arrillaga-Andreesson Foundation offers a site that references great blogs, reports and supplemental reading should you want to get an in-depth look into organizations or trends in philanthropy. I also recommend setting up Google Alerts so you can read the latest news on the organizations you are looking to fund or be involved with.
4. Experts: Follow leading experts on philanthropy trends nationally and locally on social media. Industry experts include:
5. Nonprofit Leadership: I recently heard that the Knight Foundation has a saying that goes something like this: “Don’t fund the best idea with a mediocre leader, but fund the best leader with the mediocre idea.” If you want to know if a nonprofit is a good charity to fund, then look at it’s leadership and see what impact an executive director or CEO has had on the organization. You’re not just investing in a nonprofit, but you’re investing in the people who are running it.
Trends show that individuals and companies are tired of having just a first date with a nonprofit. Gone are the days of a transactional relationship with a charity. We hope these resources help you and your companies pick the right charity for you and may you live happily ever after.
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