Top 5 Philanthropy Tips to Engage This Year

It is often suggested that you pay attention to how cost effective a charity is. You can do this by looking up the organization on web sites like charity navigator. Charities can be very wasteful and it is well known that in certain large non-profit organizations that the top ranks are paid six figures and fly in corporate jets. Remember, this is your hard earned money and you should strive to do as much good as you can with your donation. 

Second, don’t just focus on your pet cause. This is obviously a personal decision. But just because you like animals doesn’t mean you should always focus your giving on animal related charities. There are plenty of worthy causes out there. Doing more research will reveal them to you. When you are young and money is tight, this might be a hard thing to do. 

Your priorities might change if you own a business that can benefit from your giving. There are plenty of great ideas out there that tie together business and philanthropy. For example, if you own a local pizza restaurant, sponsoring a kids sports team might make sense. Alternatively, if you’re a financial advisor targeting high net worth individuals, signing up for a charity dinners can be a great idea. Both options are great as you do good for both society and your business simultaneously.

Fourth, try to avoid knee jerk giving. One example is when there is a large natural disaster, more often than not, international aid organizations have the situation handled. In these situations, charities are usually overwhelmed with donations and the money ends up not spent on what the donors intended. Likewise, if a canvasser comes to your house asking for money, be wary. If you donate on the spot, you will not be able to do the necessary research.

Finally, eliminate the middlemen. Have you ever received a call from a telemarketer asking for a donation to a charity? Be careful as often these salesmen are compensated with a commission. You want as much of your money as possible to go towards those deserving of charity, not a marketer.

How to Get Involved with a Clean Water Organization

Clean water org

Around 660 million people worldwide are do not have access to clean water. That amounts to nearly twice the population of the United States or 9% of the world’s total population. Having access to clean water is often something that people take for granted. Water can play such a large role in the daily lives of people all over the world. Below are 4 facts about water that may change the way you value water and the many ways that you use it.

  1. Diseases and Infections from the use of dirty water kill more each year than every form of violence, this statistic includes war and combat. Around 40% of those recorded deaths are children ages 5 and younger.
  2. Each year African women spend 40 billion hours fetching water. These hours take away from schooling, food gathering and income-producing work.
  3. With access to clean water stable plumbing, more children, specifically females will be able to attend school and not have to miss 1 week out of every month at home.
  4. 72% of the water collected in Sub-Saharan Africa is carried out by women. Access to clean water can give them their life back.

Why People Need Clean Water

  • Proper hygiene can be maintained with clean water to bath in. Cleaner people means fewer diseases.
  • Over three quarters of disease in underdeveloped countries is waterborne and can be combatted with access to clean water.
  • The less time that people are spending searching for clean water, the more time they have to attend school.
  • More clean water gives people access to safe cooking practices.
  • Economic development can be jumpstarted as every 1$ invest in clean water can yield a return of around 8$ economically.

Addressing The Issue
Charity: water works with local communities worldwide to promote and implement sustainable water solutions to help assure that everyone worldwide has access to clean water. Since Charity: water was founded in 2006, 20,000 projects have been funded which has resulted in 6.3 million people having access to clean water in 24 countries. This includes the installation of new water collection systems and the repairing of old ones. 100% of donations are used to fund projects, since operations expenses are covered privately.

How to Contribute
Donate on a monthly, daily or one time basis. Charity: water accepts checks, stocks, PayPal and cash.
Sponsor an entire water project that will be started or continued at an appropriate location. With a donation of $10,000 or more, an entire community can have access to clean water.
Pledge your birthday to Charity: water, instead of asking your friends and family for gifts, ask them for donations. An average of 38 people get access to water from a birthday campaign.


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Tips to Decipher a Charity’s Legitimacy

Though never ideal, charity scams can often times be more common than current or potential donors would be comfortable coming to terms with. Familiarizing yourself with the various governing bodies that check up on and analyze how these charities operate is a great first step to prevent giving away hard earned dollars to organizations.

1. The IRS Nonprofit Charities Database has a tool called “The Exempt Organizations Select Check Tool”. This tool allows you to enter the name of an organization and see if the organization is exempt or not, which is an important piece of information to know before you donate anywhere. Please bear in mind If the organization is not exempt, your donation will not be tax-deductible.

2. Charity Navigator rates charities based on their financial health, accountability, and transparency to guide individuals to make smart decisions throughout the donation process. Evaluating over eight-thousand charities, it is clear that this organization takes various factors into consideration when producing comprehensive guides for donors. On the off chance that your charity is currently not on the list, be sure to further investigate why this could be the case.

3. GuideStar keeps records of financial documents, such as the 990, which help your current and prospective volunteers evaluate the how legitimate an organization is. The 990 document not only informs donors of how the dollars are allocated, but also sheds light on how the top or upper management officials within the organization are compensated.

4. Charity Watch rates charities on specific criteria such as exposing any sort of abuse or misallocated funds. While advice, articles, and basic information are open to the public, a membership is required to have access into specific charities’ internal structure, spending habits, and other useful information to help you make a decision.

5. The BBB Wise Giving Alliance helps donors in evaluating organizations on particular criteria. Among the twenty standards, some that the organization focus their studies on include oversight, effectiveness, finances, solicitations, and informational materials. If said charity meets the necessary requirements, the philanthropic body would actually earn a point added to their profile. As the score is ranked out of twenty, be sure to keep tabs on how your favorite charity or charities are ranking.

givingWhat Donors Should Keep in Mind:
-Be careful with giving your credit card number over the phone or to an organization that only wants cash donations. If said organization or charity only wants cash donations, investigation is the best way to better understand this process.
-Keep in mind that charities do infact have administrative costs and it is impossible if 100% of the proceeds go to the cause directly.
-Trust your gut feeling, if a certain organization seems strange or a little off, be sure to check up on the charity with any of the governing bodies mentioned above.
-Avoid donating via text as much as you can. It is the least secure way to give money to an organization or charity.
-While donating dollars is always good, donating items such as food, clothing, or other goods is also a wonderful way to get involved with a charity.

Baby Boomers to Donate $8 Billion

A recent study has revealed that baby boomers will donate nearly $7 trillion in cash over the next two decades. If you add the $1 trillion-plus they will contribute in volunteer work, it becomes quite a sum. The study, which was conducted by Merril Lynch Global Wealth Management and Age Wave, determined that the baby boomer generation is about fifty percent more likely to do research on a prospective charity prior to donating compared to their parents’ generation. In fact, 44 percent of all baby boomers want to have a direct say in how their contribution is used. This is markedly higher than the fifteen percent of the prior generation.

It has long been known that men and women tend to give more come retirement. If you factor in long life spans, non-profits are primed to rake in a lot of donations in the near future.

imagesDr. Dychtwald, founder of Age Wave, notes that this is good news for non-profits, but these organizations will have to adapt to the times. Baby boomers, much more than any previous generation, want to do much more than write a check. They are hoping to “get back from their contribution” in some way.

Dychtwald also points out that these non-profits will be competing for these trillions of dollars, but the smartest organizations will work to attract retirees as volunteers. Data show that retirees tend to volunteer less often than others, but they spend more hours contributing once they do decide to volunteer. Furthermore, retirees have a wealth of knowledge as they have decades of experience professional experience across sectors. Non-profits should welcome this know-how and experience with open arms providing an outlet for these retirees to remain engaged while contributing to a cause for which they are passionate.

The Age Wave study also discovered a few other interesting giving trends. It appears that women are more likely to contribute their money and time to non-profits. Additionally, baby boomers are contributing much less to religious organizations compared to their parents.

How to Select a Charity

A myriad people want to donate their time and resources to a worthy cause, but are not necessarily sure how to properly a vet or even find great charity that will make a tangible difference. Unfortunately, research has concluded that giving to charity may not result in the most bang for your buck. Warren Buffett, who has pledged to give away the vast majority of his fortune, notes that analyzing the markets is much more cut and dry than examining philanthropic organizations. There has been a push by researchers to create indexes and metrics to help those who want to give gauge the effectiveness of the organizations. also outlined four tips you should take to ensure your donations make a difference.

  1. Donate to CharityPonder the causes that you care about and scour the web for information. Whether your searching on Facebook, Twitter, or the organizations’ websites, get a feel for the prospective charities and how they approach their specific issue.
  2. Pick 5. While you may have discovered hundreds of organizations that you believe can make the world a better place, it is important that you narrow down the amount you are going to support. Such focus will certainly augment the impact your time and donation will have. Be thoughtful in your choosing as these could very well end-up being long-term relationships.
  3. Vet each of them. Try to find how many people the organization helps and how they quantify success. Is this information cited by outside organizations or simply “in-house” research. If an organization doesn’t present outside corroboration on their website, it may well be because there is not any.
  4. People who are quite involved with charities will often be the first to tell you how rewarding volunteering is. You can apply your skills and knowhow to a cause that you do truly care about. Sites like and are great starting points if you are looking to donate your time.