8 Questions to Consider Before Making a Donation

How to Evaluate a Nonprofit

According to the National Center for Charitable Statistics, there are currently over 1.5 million nonprofit organizations in the United States. With so many to choose from, how do you determine which ones to support? Whether you’re evaluating a proposal or simply want to know which organization will make the best use of your donation, getting answers to the following questions can help you make an informed decision. And thankfully, many of the answers may be as close as your laptop.

Although you may want to obtain additional information before committing your funds, and some donations (such as multi-year commitments or significant gifts) might even merit an in-person visit, reviewing a nonprofit’s website is an excellent first step, providing a better sense of both the organization and its programs. As you browse, here are some questions to keep in mind.

Look for specificity. Vague, ambiguous intent (“dedicated to making the world a better place”) often leads to vague, ineffectual projects. What is the overriding purpose of the organization? Is it clearly focused on serving the public interest? Does it appear focused with laser-like precision on a defined goal, or does it seem more interested in “raising awareness”?

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