80% of charitable giving is done between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. From stats I’ve seen from online giving portals, it seems that a big rush of online giving occurs in the last few days of the year. Readers of this blog know that I recommend donors spend time planning their giving, creating a written philanthropy plan and donating to organizations in which they have a high level of conviction.
But what if it is the last day of the year, you want to make a gift to charity and you aren’t sure where to give? Here’s a strategy that takes 5-10 minutes and will result in your donations accomplishing more good than the vast majority of charitable gifts.
In 5-10 minutes you can’t possibly learn enough about a charity to determine if it is any good (imagine buying a stock with 5-10 minutes of research!). But you can piggyback on the research being done by professionals. For free.
Your first resource is GiveWell’s top rated charities. GiveWell is a research team that works to identify charities whose programs actually work. Read the short profile of these thoroughly researched charities and pick one that interests you. The organizations range from ones providing immunizations in Africa to ones working on improving teacher quality in the US.
Don’t even have time for that? Just donate to one of GiveWell’s top rated charities by clicking on the links below.
Stop TB Partnership (Tuberculosis)
Nurse-Family Partnership (Childcare)
Another great resource is Philanthropedia. This group surveys nonprofit, foundation and academic experts to identify top charities. Check out there list of organizations in the areas of Climate Change, Education, Microfinance or San Francisco Bay Area Homelessness and donate to the expert recommended organization that most interests you.
Don’t even have time for that? Philanthropedia has created charitable “mutual funds” where you can make a single gift to a cause area and they’ll split it up among the groups they recommend. Just click on the links below and scroll down to the “expert mutual fund” donation form:
A third option is New Profit, Inc. New Profit is a national venture philanthropy fund that supports rapidly growing social entrepreneurial organizations. While their site is not designed to process donations, they do offer profiles of their current portfolio of charities they support. Once you find one you like, head over to Network for Good to make an online donation to the group.
Don’t even have time for that? Just make a donation to New Profit, Inc and they’ll use 100% of your gift to support their full portfolio of charities.
If you use this process, you can feel confidence that the organizations you are supporting are the same ones that experts would pick if they were in your shoes. But if you use this process to complete your charitable giving in just 5-10 minutes, do me a favor and make a New Year’s resolution to start earlier next year so you can make a simple written plan and find organizations you personally believe are doing great work instead of depending on someone else’s recommendation.
Happy New Year!