According to the National Center for Charitable Statistics, there were over 1.5 million organizations registered in the U.S. Besides charities, non-profits can also be chambers of commerce, private foundations, educational organizations, and welfare organizations.
When you search online for “non profit organizations near me”, you’ll come across all kinds of causes. But the real question is if they’re legitimate and whether they produce real results.
Before you decide where to donate or participate, do thorough research and ask around for recommendations.
Here are the best tips for choosing a non-profit organization that’s near and dear to your heart and values.
Do In-Depth Research
Whether you’re looking for a charity or another kind of non-profit, doing in-depth research is key to choosing the right one. You can do this both online and offline and ask for recommendations from family and friends.
Researching an organization includes its legitimacy, finances, types of projects and their success rate, transparency, and accountability. You can also find information on how they spend the money, what channels they use for donations, and their history.
Ask Yourself: Do the Non Profit Organizations Near Me Share My Values?
The key to finding an organization you’ll love is to share the same values. A non-profit’s values are typically outlined in their mission or vision statements, or you can learn about them directly from the organization.
It’s important to have the same goals and approaches so you can work well together. Even if you’re just donating money, they should go to a cause you truly believe in.
Narrow Down Your Choices
Once you have a long list of your preferred non profit organizations, you need to narrow down your choice. This means comparing the organizations, making lists of pros and cons for each one, and highlighting their most important aspects.
You can also read reviews online, see their projects and results, and learn about the impact they have. According the experts at the FDD, you can also assess the organization’s mission, finances, and transparency levels.
Double-Check the Organization’s Legitimacy
It’s easy to register a non profit organization, but this doesn’t automatically make it legitimate. With so many charity scams out there, you should be very careful about where you donate.
You have to do your own research to learn about their work, especially if there’s little information available. Call organizations or visit them in person to see how transparent they are about their work. If they hesitate to give you information or give vague answers, stay away.
You can always consult with official government institutions or use online tools like the IRS Nonprofit Charities Database, the BBB Wise Giving Alliance, or GuideStar.
Choose a Charity You Believe In!
After searching online for “non profit organizations near me”, the next step is to make a list of your favorites and start contacting them.
The best way to choose a non-profit to fit your values and personal mission is to get involved and see how they work.
Need more ways to give back? Read some of the other articles we have on our website where we talk about the importance of helping others.