Before giving to a charity, there are a few things you may want to take into serious consideration. Giving to a cause requires you to have a set course of action just like any other investment. Without a plan, chances are that you will lose your motivation or that the feeling of fulfillment that comes with giving may totally lack in the end. So, what should you do? We have compiled a list of 5 steps for an informed giving so that you can learn to donate wisely.
Step 1. Find your purpose
“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born, and the day you find out why.” -Mark Twain
Why do you want to donate? Do you want to donate to those with a specific need? There are people who find their purpose because they have gone through the same situation, perhaps you as a parent have experienced how difficult it is to have a child with a serious illness like cancer. In another case, one may want to donate to children with autism or heart conditions because they know someone who has gone or is going through the same situation. Others have lost a loved one to a certain disease and would like to give in their honor. Once you have clearly identified your purpose, you can start scouting for charities that match your priorities.
Step 2. Do your research
You need to know that the charities you are donating to are capable of efficiently handling their finances and making sure that the beneficiaries get the donation. You will, therefore, need to ensure that the organization is registered with its corresponding government as a nonprofit organization and is financially stable. The Los Cabos Children’s Foundation (LCCF) is an IRS 501c3 in the United States and all donations are tax deductible: IRS EIN 20-2882711. LCCF is also an authorized tax-exempt organization in Mexico.
Another thing you should research on is their transparency and how clean they are. You do not want to get caught up in an organization that has been involved in unethical activities! A great starting point for your research is Charity Navigator, which is the largest and most-utilized evaluator of charities in the United States. Charity Navigator’s rating system examines two broad areas of a charity’s performance: their financial health and their accountability and transparency. In Los Cabos Children’s Foundation, we are proud to hold a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator – the highest score.
Step 3. Have a talk
The occasional email may not suffice, sometimes you need to actually have a talk with the charity and that is to be expected. Verbal communication has a way of revealing certain things about the other party, so make sure that you have discussed with them several issues like their long term goals, achievements so far and any other matters of interest. Their response will give you an idea of how safe your donation will be and also whether the charity is visionary in the way they are handling their resources. If they are not willing to answer your questions and show you how they have benefited the community, then they may not be the kind of charity you would be happy giving to.
Step 4. Come up with a budget
This is according to your financial ability or personal choices. How much would you like to donate to the charity and how would you like to give your contribution? You could do a monthly budget which enables you to donate every month. Charities always have shifting demands according to the challenges they face and would benefit from donations that have no strings attached. This simply means that when you give without dictating how the contribution should be used, then you are giving the organization the ability to be flexible and address issues as they come. After step 2, trusting your charity organization of choice should be easy. In LCCF’s case, we determine our annual budget in June so there are no surprises, but there are some cases that arise throughout the year that need our attention. The timing for saving lives is not very predictable, so we always leave an open door to be accessible to the needs of the community. We also approve our grants in June, but we don’t just pay and turn away. Our engagement with our grantees goes beyond financial assistance during the year.
Step 5. Follow-up
You may not exactly be looking for a dollar-by-dollar count on how the charity spends your money, but it is always good to follow up with them, in about six months or so, to find out how they are handling your donation. Also, make sure you subscribe to their newsletters and follow them on the social media channels that you use; chances are you’ll learn a lot of how your contribution is being used to strengthen their mission. Remember, clear communication on progress is key. After that, you will know whether to continue giving to the charity or if it’s time to go back to step one and find another cause or organization to support.
If you are happy with their progress then you can commit to supporting them in the long haul, keeping in mind that it is your long term donation that keeps the charity afloat.
In 2016, Los Cabos Children’s Foundation was able to help more than 3,000 children in Southern Baja by supporting health programs that attend children with cancer, congenital heart defects and critical health among others. If you would like to learn more about the work of LCCF please contact us, we will be happy to share our work and bring you to see first-hand the pediatric programs we support. There are many ways to join us in helping children. Why not start today by getting involved? Each donor and volunteer is valuable to us and makes a difference in the life of a child. Click on the button below to donate today or to become a volunteer click here.