How to choose the right charity to support

The majority of donations made to charities come from people with some personal involvement with the cause.

Most people donate to a cause with which they have some personal affiliation. For example, those who know someone who is blind will most likely donate to a charity like Guide Dogs. Or if they know someone with breast cancer, they may donate to a breast cancer charity.

Many people who donate have concerns about how much of their donation goes to the beneficiaries compared to the administration of the charity. If you are considering donating, here are some tips to help choose the right charity for you.

Determine your preferences. Ask yourself some questions. What is most important to you — children’s health, the environment, animal welfare, clean water and food for the starving? Do you want to support a local, national or international cause? Are you wanting to help an established charity or a new, small one?

Once you decide on your preferences, draw up a shortlist of relevant charities. You’ll need to invest some time reviewing the charity’s website to learn about its purpose, objectives, achievements, management structure, Board and accounts.

You may have to visit the charity’s head office, or representative office if it is based internationally. Most charities employ someone whose mission in life is to find people to donate to them, so you should be able to get a hearing and learn more about how the charity operates.

If the management is not willing to be transparent about how it raises and administers its revenue, you might not want to get involved with them.

Apart from the cause, your support for a charity may come down to how you feel about the people who work there. The more you know about them, the more confident you can be to get involved.

You don’t have to donate a large amount to begin with. You can start with a small donation, or commitment of time or resources, and gradually increase your support over time.