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When you’re choosing a philanthropy to donate your time and money to, it’s important that you choose the best one for you. There are a nearly endless amount of charities you can choose from, so it’s important you find the one that’s best for you. Make sure a charity is legit before investing time and money into it and also decide whether or not the philanthropy’s goals are the same as yours.

Choose a cause you care about

First and foremost, determine what cause you feel passionate about and want to work in to make a difference. You might have various causes you want to support, which is great! Keep your options open and look for philanthropies that fit something you’re passionate about. After you find organizations that you think focus on a cause you care about, follow the next few steps before settling on a philanthropy.

Research its reputation

After you’ve narrowed down your options for a philanthropy to work with, start with researching its reputation. See what people say about it and check websites like CharityWatch or Charity Navigator to see a rating for the organization. Find reviews from people who have previously worked with the organization and learn if there are any common issues people mention.

Know how it uses donations

A really important point to educate yourself on is how the philanthropy uses its donations. Does the majority of money actually go toward the cause they support or does a large portion go back into running the charity? While some money must be used for administrative costs, more than half should actually be used for the services and mission of the organization. You should be able to easily find out how the philanthropy breaks down its budget and then determine if the money is being allocated properly.

Check out how it’s managed

Sometimes a charity can be working toward a great cause and have the best intentions, but if it isn’t managed properly, there can be significant waste and oversight. Learn about the management style of the nonprofit and how well it works with volunteers and how organized it is. With proper management, you can rest assured the charity you’re choosing to work with will actually try to work toward their goals and help out a cause.

Learn what its long-term goals are

In addition to organization, it’s vital you identify what an nonprofit’s long-term goals are. If a charity isn’t working toward a specific goal, it’s a red flag. For a nonprofit to succeed, it needs to have a set plan and goal that everyone can work toward. Check a philanthropy’s website to see if they clearly outline their goals and how they’re working toward achieving them.