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As we transition Change You Can Afford into a charity, that site will be dedicated to the charity and no longer host the blogging archives.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

How I Choose.


A friend of mine asked me this week "how do you choose your charities?" Which is a great question, so I thought I would make a post explaining my process. Its a very detailed and exacting process...

Actually, I mostly go with my gut and then do some research. Currently the format is having themes for the week. While I often know of one or two good charities already, I rarely know more than that. So, I look for other charities. I will Google the theme looking for good charities or use Charity Navigator to search for related topics.

After I find a potential charity, I look for a few things. What projects are they are involved in, where do they get the majority of their funding, and how do they work with their targeted communities. I like projects that work with people, instead of coming in and telling them what to do. I like charities that are more grass-roots and less giant bureaucracies. I like groups that do more than just one aspect of an issue; such as the San Diego Youth Services group, which has many services for youths and their families to reduce homelessness and teach them skills to survive on their own.

If I approve of their methods, funding, and practices then I will look at their charity navigator rating. They rate charities out of four stars, I won't donate to a charity unless it has three or four stars. Charities that have two stars or less means they are under performing compared to other similar charities. Those charities are not run well enough for me to justify giving them money. No matter how great the cause, if they spend too much money fundraising or on administration costs, I will not support them. Some smaller local charities are not yet rated by Charity Navigator, so I try to do some research on my own to see if I think they are doing a good job logistically.

That is the basic process for choosing a charity. In fact on Friday, I rewrote and choose a new charity after looking it up on charity navigator. It only had two stars and I decided that while it sounded great, it only 55% of its money was actually making it to the programs. So even though I had already started writing about it, I changed my mind.

So, in honor of the help that Charity Navigator gives me to find well run charities. Today I will be donating a dollar to them. They are a great resource and deserve the support. Go here to donate!

Do you have other tools you use to rate charities? What are they? Any ideas on how to judge charities better? Suggestions for what I should look for in a charity? If you want some more tips on how to be a good donor, here is a list from Charity Navigator with ideas.
I would love to hear all ideas and suggestions.

Thanks all, and have a great rest of your weekend.

1 comment:

  1. I am afraid I am much more arbitrary. Though I do tend to donate to world charities rather than local charities. Somebody has to.