Are You Better Off Giving to Multiple Organizations or a Select Few?
It can be tempting to split your giving budget between many organizations to show your support for the great work they do. We urge you to resist this impulse.
There are endless opportunities for donors to support worthwhile causes. So many deserving charitable organizations need support. You may face dozens of solicitations to give to each year, many of which may pull at your heartstrings. It can be tempting to split your giving budget between a large number of organizations to show your support for all of the great work they do. If you already have a giving strategy in place, we urge you to resist this impulse.
Benefits of Supporting Fewer Organizations
For Nonprofits: Giving $5 to many organizations is much less impactful than combining all of those small gifts into a significant gift for a single organization. Nonprofits have business-level expenses, including leases, payroll, and much more. If you are a giver who donates a few dollars to different organizations throughout the year, consider taking that amount and making it a recurring donation to a single organization. You can set up a recurring donation directly through a nonprofit or Charity Navigator’s Giving Basket. Recurring donations help bring nonprofits stability as they plan for the future.
For Donors: Donating to fewer organizations will make your giving easier to track and monitor the organization’s progress based on their programs’ outcomes. By reducing the amount of correspondence you receive, you can focus on learning about the work of those organizations you selected.
How to Select a Small Number of Organizations to Support
It can be hard to focus your giving on only a few organizations, but taking the time to do so is worthwhile. Here are a few simple steps to set you on the right path:
Set your budget: Your giving budget is an extremely personal choice that should consider your income, assets, expenses, and values. Once you have set your budget, decide how many organizations you can support in a meaningful way.
Choose your issue area(s): You have decided how many organizations you can support, so it is time narrow down the issue areas you care about to the one or few to address with your giving. This may be the most difficult step because there are so many challenges facing our world. Set aside time to work with family members to discuss what really resonates with your heart, types of organizations within those areas, and preferred location of focus. Use Charity Navigator’s robust search feature to filter by cause, location, and ratings, among other options.
Select organizations: Once you determine the causes you wish to support, you can choose organizations. This may mean paring down your existing list to a select few - or even a single top choice - to support. Search Charity Navigator to learn more about specific organizations to inform your decisions. You may also want to find new organizations to support. On Charity Navigator, you can now discover charities that are highly rated and working to address the causes you care about.
With more significant funding, the charities you support can do more good, and you'll get to experience more of the impact. Of course, there is room for exceptions. If you want to participate in a loved one’s fundraising drive, making a nominal contribution to a group effort is a kind way to show your support for the fundraiser and the organization. Being mindful of your giving strategy and ensuring your exceptions are exceptional will keep you on the right path.