Choosing a nonprofit to support may come second nature to some people, but for others with thousands of nonprofits to choose from, finding the right nonprofit that aligns with their values can be a more trying task. Many factors are involved in finding a nonprofit that’s right for you, and we’re here to make it a little easier. Below are 3 simple steps to help you find the right nonprofit for you.
1. Consider your passions and what’s important to you
The things that stir up the most emotion in you are the things you feel most passionately about. When it comes to giving back, ask yourself what areas you’re most interested in assisting. Perhaps your passion is in the environment, in the welfare of animals, education, assisting veterans, or feeding the hungry. Take into consideration the areas that mean the most to you and that you would like to impact the most.
Then, when you’ve decided on an area of interest you’d like to focus on, break it down a little more to get even more specific. For example, if your passion lies in animal welfare, what kind of animals are you interested in assisting? All animals? Dogs? Cats? A specific breed or species of animal? Narrow down the options until you have a solid starting point to begin your nonprofit search.
2. Location, location, location
Where your nonprofit is located will also sometimes determine whom they’ll be helping. Some nonprofits assist on a local level while others serve on a national or even international level.
If it’s important to you to give back locally, be sure to narrow your search to areas close to where you live, or to smaller chapters of larger organizations near you. Choosing a national or international nonprofit doesn’t mean you can’t still give back locally. Many national and international organizations have smaller chapters throughout the country to which you can donate directly if you’d like to keep your donations closer to home.
3. Do your due diligence
The internet has a plethora of resources to choose from when it comes to selecting a nonprofit. However, anyone can say their organization is a nonprofit, even if it may not be. Before sending a donation off to a nonprofit you’ve never worked with before, make sure you do your due diligence to ensure that the nonprofit is legitimate, and that your funds would be used for programs and other areas that you prefer. Visiting a nonprofit’s website is one easy way to gather all the information you’ll need.
Simply ask yourself these questions:
• Does the nonprofit have a clear mission statement?
• Does there appear to be transparency on how they’re using funding?
• To which programs do their funds go to?
• Do they have a registered EIN number visible on their website?
That last bullet is the most important of the bunch. If a nonprofit does not have an EIN number, that means that it is not a tax-exempt organization. If you cannot find an EIN number on the nonprofit’s website, you can do an easy lookup on the IRS Tax Exempt Organization Search.
4. Start paying it forward
Once you’ve decided on your nonprofit of choice, there are numerous ways you can give back. One easy and popular way to pay it forward is through third party donations simply because they are free donations from third parties that you get to direct to your nonprofit, just for purchasing the items you were already going to purchase. Some examples might include grocery stores and AmazonSmile, but there are also companies like PinRaise, Inc., which assists nonprofits nation-wide through its innovative Agent with Heart™ program. Through Agent with Heart, real estate agents pledge to make a donation to their client’s nonprofit of choice at the close of escrow.
Aside from third party donations, there are many ways for you to pay it forward with your nonprofit; from volunteering directly, allowing supporters to work closely with those that they are assisting, to personal donations, fundraisers, and more. Explore what opportunities your nonprofit provides and choose the ways that work best for you and you’ll be well on your way to making a difference.