Should YOU change how you give to charity?
Maybe. It depends on your motives. If you want to make a big impact, it’s not about the money you give. It’s about how well you give that money. The biggest misconception people have is that good intentions and a lot of money mean a lot of impact.
We need to move away from the focus on financial inputs, like how much money a charity has and what its overhead costs are. Instead, focus on the change you want to create, the actual impact. Is it helping people who have lost everything in a major disaster? Getting a child to read at grade level? Ask yourself where you can get the most benefit in the area of your passion, and the needs of the community. Be clear on the results you’re trying to achieve. Then support organizations that are doing that.
Still, I don’t have Bill Gates’ money. Can I really make an impact?
Funders with more resources than you are often addressing bigger, more capital-intensive problems, like developing a new vaccine. But you can make a meaningful difference with a lot less money. It costs $150 to provide home-based health care to poor families in rural India. To help just one newborn, it’s $7. You could be saving a child’s life. The key is finding organizations that are using your money to the maximum effect.
How can I find a charity that is getting results?
There’s no one-stop shop. Focus on particular issues that help you judge which organizations have the most impact and cost-effectiveness. At Trego Hospital Endowment Foundation, Inc., one thing we do is research/talk with Departments, bring you the information, you decide what matches your thoughts and passions.
So have these sites solved the problem of judging effectiveness?
No. There are more than 1 million nonprofits registered in the U.S. What we do is very labor-intensive. No one has the capacity to evaluate the ongoing results of every nonprofit.
In that case, how should I evaluate a small local charity like a theater group, foundation, or an animal shelter?
First, do a search on charity-screening sites and Google to check that it’s a registered nonprofit and to see whether there are concerns about fraud or misuse of funds. As for results, ask why this organization exists. Is the group’s goal to enhance the quality of arts and culture in your town? Go to a show and see how many people attend. If you count 10 people, that’s not much of an impact. Or get involved directly. Volunteer to walk dogs at the local shelter. Spend time within a nonprofit to observe its work and see how well it’s run.
YOU make the difference! Call or stop by and visit with Trego Hospital Endowment Foundation, Inc. 236 N. 6th, WaKeeney, KS 67672, 785-743-2070