2017 is on its way out, and Christmas is coming. At this time of the year, people (and not only Christians) all over the world embrace the spirit of festivity and joy, decorating their homes and workspaces, buying gifts for family and friends, as well as making generous donations to charity. Between 2013 and 2016, studies of giving have revealed that 30% of annual philanthropic donations are made during this holiday season.
This statistic is not surprising, given the age old association of Christmas with giving. “It is more blessed to give than to receive,” the Lord Jesus had said. Giving at Christmas has evolved through the years, with church baskets of fruit and candy from Victorian times having been replaced with stockings of little presents for underprivileged children, or the option of writing a check for a women’s shelter, or of adopting a child in sub-saharan Africa, or of volunteering for healthcare organizations for a pre-defined period.
Besides this, you have the choice of giving to crowdfunding campaigns raising money for a cause or project you support. This mode of giving, enabled by technology and harnessing the power of large numbers of people, is essentially democratic and inclusive. You can give as much as you like to vetted campaigns run on prominent crowdfunding platforms. A $25 donation has value, because it is absorbed into direct aid for the beneficiaries of that NGO crowdfunding project. No contribution is too little, and contributions in free time and skills leveraged for doing good are as legitimate as cash gifts.
How to choose an NGO
But how do you choose which NGO or NPO to donate to? You probably already have a sense of which broad causes you are sympathetic to. Your first task is to research organizations that work in that superset in the non profit or development sector. Try and narrow down your focus area. You might want to donate to an organization that works with women’s rights. You need to make a list of organizations who do this, and create a smaller group of bodies that work for, say, reproductive rights, or adult women’s literacy, depending on where you want your donation to go.
Next, zero in on two or three nonprofits once you have identified the exact need you want to fill with your contribution. Get in touch with representatives from the organizations and request to spend a day with the people they work for, or at the very least, a tour of their office. Alternatively, schedule a meeting with these charities to discuss your gift to them. You have the right to know how they will utilize your gift. Spend time processing the information these NGOs give you and pick one whose social enterprise model and ways of making use of funds appeal the most to you.
Social sector and fundraising gurus suggest that donating to community projects carries with it the possibility of maximum satisfaction with the gift on the donor’s part, because s/he gets to see constructive altruistic work shaping up in front of their own eyes.
Volunteer and share
Consider also volunteering short-term on multiple projects to leave the imprint of your resources in larger areas. Simply spreading word of campaigns you are in sympathy with on social media, and asking your circle of acquaintances to donate, also has far-reaching positive effects on what the fundraiser can attract in donations.