Friday, December 27, 2013

Tips for choosing an end of the year charity

The clock is ticking on 2013, but there is still time to make an end of the year donation. Consider giving both goods and cash.

Here’s some quick considerations:

Pack it up and cart it out.
Find a charity close to home and deliver a donation. The Salvation Army, Goodwill or a local ministry are good choices where your gently used goods can have a second life. In my neighborhood there is Divine Consign, Habitat for Humanity Restores, and Second Hands Thrift Shop to name a few that top the 360 Convos list.

In Portland, Oreg., one of our favorite haunts is the Community Warehouse. They have mastered the art of making the most of everything that crosses their doorstep and write some very entertaining blog posts promoting their finest and oddest donations.

But the all time favorite organization for 360 Convos is Open House Ministries. There are many reasons, including administration that labors in love with very little pay, but mostly because they are open 24 hours.

Someone is always at the front desk, so when you are done sorting and cleaning you can drop all items in the car, dash downtown, deliver and be done.

Give cash where it makes sense.
Find a charity far away from home and make a cash donation where your dollars both go far and truly go far. If you don't know where to look consider Dining for Women. They investigate their featured organizations thoroughly and monitor the results. 360 Convos featured two articles on Dining for Women:
  • Can a good dinner change the world?
  • Educate a girl, change the world.

Consider the pay of the charity’s CEO. Would reasonable people consider the administrator’s pay reasonable? The Columbian Newspaper researched nonprofit’s in SW Washington noted the top earners in an article called, Digging into Clark County nonprofits’ top earners. While the database at the end of the article is cumbersome to use, reading the article offers insight.

Consider the charity’s reputation. Have they been plagued by scandal or praised in the media?

Consider the charity’s work. Does the work align with your values? It’s pretty simple, if it makes sense to you, it makes sense to support them.

And while your thinking of donating, go to the Red Cross or SW Washington Blood Bank and make a very personal donation.

Who knows, before the year starts you may have saved up to three lives.

What other tips we can add to this list?