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How to Ensure Your Charitable Donations Do the Most Good

David Bakke David Bakke

With thousands of charities worldwide in need of contributions, it can be difficult to determine where your philanthropic dollars can do the most good. In order to ensure your funds are making the biggest impact possible, here are four important tips to follow:

1. Utilize Effective Giving
"Effective giving" means directing your charitable donations where they can have the greatest social effect. Many philanthropists argue, for example, that targeting your funds at the cause of a problem rather than the problem itself is the best strategy.

2. Research Financials
Many people review overhead or administrative costs to determine if a charity is making good use of its funds. But this figure may not give the entire picture and can even penalize charities investing in improvements, such as new technology or training. Instead, go deeper than a charity's overhead and investigate how they've managed their funds over the years. Be sure to focus on the complete picture and not just one limited element to determine where to give.

3. Do More Than Just the Usual Research
While taking recommendations from friends and family is always nice, if you want to guarantee that your dollars are effective, you need to do some investigating. Take a look at Philanthropedia, which uses more than 3,000 experts to research and rate the top non-profit organizations working in 37 different causes.

4. Consider Developing Countries
While it's great to help causes in your home country, there are hundreds of places around the world impacted by hunger, war, flooding and more. Philanthropedia can help you select high-impact non-profit organizations to ensure your donated dollars do the most good in the places that truly need it.

Final Thoughts
When choosing where to send your charitable dollars, it's important to ensure that you're getting the best return on your investment. Just do a little research, spend some time evaluating your options, and your donations are sure to help those in need.

What ways can you think of to ensure your donations do the most good?

The preceding is a guest post by David Bakke, a writer for Money Crashers Personal Finance, a web resource dedicated to helping people manage their money - so they can build long-term wealth and find ways to give back to the community.

Topics: Charitable Giving