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As 2019 continues to fly by, it seems like the world grows more and more hectic. Everybody is more informed than ever, but everyone’s day to day lives seem to be getting busier as well. In a time when it seems like everywhere you turn there is a cause that needs your help it can be hard to decide on a charity to donate your time or money to. Philanthropy has become something that requires you to use your head as much as your heart to ensure your contribution is being used appropriately.
If you are someone who values making informed decisions when choosing a charity it’s important that you follow a set of guidelines. Ideally, you’d like to be sure that your donation is being spent on an organization’s mission and that their cause identifies with your own values.

Here are a few tips for choosing a charity.

Decide on a cause
Before you open your checkbook or volunteer your time, sit down and think about what’s important to you. The list of charities and causes to support are never ending. It’s great to take the time and consider what cause resonates with you the most. Ask yourself a few questions when you’re getting started. What’s most important to you? It could be anything from the environment to hunger, or sick children. For some, helping animals feels the most rewarding. Others like to find a charity that gives back to people in a community that they most identify with. Whatever you choose, it’ll be far more satisfying when you’ve taken your time and found something that is special to you.

Do your research
Once you’ve decided what kind of charity you’d like to help, it’s time to begin researching different organizations. Understanding the charity’s mission is vital, furthermore, you’re seeking information on the income, spending, and salaries of these places. Avoid any charity that isn’t forthcoming about finances or the actual program. At the end of the day, it’s best to go with your instinct. If analyzing finances sounds like a drag to you there are helpful tools to narrow down your search. Websites such as Guide Star and Charity Navigator are wonderful resources when you’re trying to track the accountability of a charity. As you eliminate programs that don’t meet your criteria, you can feel reassured knowing that your time or money will go to those that need it most.

Choosing between time/money
When you’ve made the decision to donate to charity, don’t forget that you can help by providing something other than money. Spending time as a volunteer is a great way to help! Everyone is different and for some it’s easier to part with cash than taking time out of a busy schedule. (Plenty of people do both!) If you’re on the fence about which way you’d like to help it can be useful to understand what exactly a charity accomplishes with a cash donation. Try visiting WalletHub. This website has introduced a handy calculator that allows you to determine which method of giving will have the largest impact. Often times we want to do more than write a check, and it feels good to be involved in a more personal way. However, with the calculator it’s fantastic to see exactly what an organization provides to communities with cash donations.