The season of gift giving turns our thoughts to how we can help others. Whether it is out of a heart of compassion or simply a way to cut taxes—or both, it is a noble trait of our society.
If you are going to give to an organization, It is important to do so intelligently. I look at it as a way to invest my money into things that produce an eternal return. I don’t take that lightly.
Here are some things that I pay attention to:
What kind of work are they doing?
I want to support something that I believe in. It is important to understand the mission of the organization. The list below includes disaster relief, orphan care, meeting the needs of the poor, and prostitution rescue.
How do they spend their funds?
While I wish to see that a high percentage of the funds goes toward the project(s) of the organization, I recognize that finding and keeping good leadership is vital as well. What I don’t want to find is money spent on non-essential items such as office decorations, luxurious trips, etc.
How transparent are their practices and financials?
I want to know how much the organization spends on personnel, fundraising and the organizations projects. Preferably the organization makes this information accessible on websites and communication with donors.
What kind of results do they get?
Numbers don’t always tell the story, but they do help tell the story. I want to hear the stories of success.
Do they have a vision for the future.
I shy away from any organization or ministry that is comfortable with the things as they are. I lean into ministries that look for better ways to carry out their goals and objectives. I also wish to see organizations that are willing to self-evaluate.
Here are some Austin area recommendations along with some global ones. If you are not in the Austin area, look for similar organizations in your community.
ADRN provides financial, emotional, and logistical support to people who have suffered a disaster. ADRN also trains volunteers in CPR, debriefing, chaplaincy and many other opportunities.
Partners in Hope is an organization that mobilizes the people and resources of the Lake Travis community to serve one family in need at a time, providing hope for a meaningful life on a firm foundation.
Full disclosure here—I am on the board of Partners in Hope!
TBCH provides a haven of hope for children and families in crisis through its residential programs for children and single-mother families, as well as community-based outreach and prevention programs.
The food bank provides food and grocery products, nutrition education and social services outreach to 300,000 clients each year through a network of 300 Partner Agencies.
Compassion International exists as a Christian child advocacy ministry that releases children from spiritual, economic, social and physical poverty and enables them to become responsible, fulfilled Christian adults.
ABBA fund focuses on providing adoption assistance for Christian families, and ensuring that orphans are being cared for in loving, nurturing Christian family environments.
Tamar offers hope, healing and a new life to the bar girls in Pattaya, Thailand. Thailand has one of the highest levels of sex trafficking in the world.
What are some nonprofits or ministries you can recommend?