The easiest way to do good year-end giving is to give to an organization you already know and love. Sometimes, though, you don’t have an organization you know and love. Answering these questions will help make sure your giving has the impact you’re looking for.
- How big is the annual budget of the organization in proportion to its mission? An organization with dozens of tiny projects scattered over a huge geographic space is unlikely to be able to manage them well, or to have good local knowledge.
- Does the press coverage match the mission? Search google news or some other aggregator for information about the group. Do the news reports about the group match its stated mission? The volume of news coverage doesn’t matter so much, but the content does. A group that sues big polluters should show up in the news for litigation. A humanitarian relief agency should be responding to disasters. An animal rescue should be working directly with animals. This search will also identify any general red flags about the organization.
- Who is on the board of directors? You want the board members to have politics, business practices, and skills that you respect. I would think twice about an organization with Steve Bannon on the board, for example. no matter what kind of work it did. Other deal breakers for me would be a global health organization with only pharmaceutical company executives on the board, or boards that are all male.
You can go a lot deeper into researching an organization, but these three questions are a solid start. If you want to do more research, your can download the This World Needs Brave in-depth research guide: Choosing an NGO partner.