There are many steps you can take before you give to ensure your charitable donations are actually making a difference. Here are some ways you can do so.
Identify What’s Important to You
The first step in making meaningful charitable donations is identifying the issues and causes that are most important to you. This can be fighting hunger, cancer research, or helping disadvantaged youth.
When you align your charitable donations with causes that are near and dear to your heart, you’re likely to be able to have a more significant impact with your charitable contributions.
Dive Deep in Research
Once you’ve identified the causes you want to support, you can begin to search for organizations that were founded for that purpose. You’ll likely be able to cull a sizeable list of charities whose mission aligns with your most important causes.
There are a number of ways you can narrow this list to ensure your charitable donations count. First, start by deciding exactly how you want to support your cause. For example, if you want to support cancer research, it may be better to donate to a more prominent charity. On the other hand, if you want to support local families who have a member battling a specific type of cancer, you could have a bigger impact by donating to a local charity.
No matter what avenue you choose, you should research the charity itself. Make sure that the charity is a registered and legitimate tax-exempt public charity. Finally, check to see if the organization’s finances are healthy. If they are sustainable and efficient, it’s more likely your money will be more impactful.
Connect Directly with the Charity
Many people simply mail a check or make donations to charities online. They never speak with anyone at the organization about the donation; they just send money.
If you want your donations to count, Fahim Imam-Sadeque suggests connecting directly with the charity. Even large charities make available staff members who you can talk to about their mission, purpose, and how your donation will be used.
In some cases, you can even specify how you want your money to be used. While not all charities allow this type of input and control, some do. So, before you send a charity your money blindly, connect with someone on staff to determine whether they’re a good fit for what you want your money to accomplish.
After you make your donation, you should stay connected with your contact at the charity. Give the charity some time to put your money into action, of course, but following up six months or so after you make the donation is a good idea.
Following up is a great way to see how the charity was able to put your money into action — or how they plan to do so in the future. If the charity can’t provide you with any specific information, that would be a red flag to help guide your future decisions.
This conversation can also help you direct the plan — or guide future donations — if you’d like your money to be put to use in a different area.
About Fahim Imam-Sadeque
Fahim Imam-Sadeque pursued a BSc in Actuarial Science in the desire to follow in his father’s footsteps. He earned his degree at the City University of London in 1991 and became a Fellow of the Institute of Actuaries in 1995. As an actuary and trained professional in mathematics and statistics, he had a solid basis for moving into asset management.
As the child of Bangladeshi immigrants to the UK, Fahim is particularly passionate about access to quality education for first and second-generation immigrants to the UK. Mr. Imam-Sadeque also focuses his attention on aiding those UK immigrants from disadvantaged backgrounds with access to better education opportunities in order to expand their horizons in society.