How Should I Choose a Charity to Donate to?

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When you’ve found yourself in a financial position where you want to extend support to others, it can be natural to want to explore the options available to you with regards to giving back. And there is no better time than the present day to consider how you may be able to make a positive impact on the world.

With the number of charities operating across the globe growing larger every day, however, the prospect of donating in a way that will make your money travel the distance can quickly seem like a gargantuan task. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s an impossible task, though, and with some mindful planning, you can see your donations going directly to worthy causes.

Here are a few tips that will help you to maximise the effect of your donation and ensure that your contribution is travelling the distance.

Look for transparency

When trying to find an appropriate charity, the number one factor to consider is whether the charity you’re supporting is transparent in their operations. The best way to ensure that you are donating towards a reputable Australian charity is to look for ones that have been independently examined.

Seeking independent examination of a charity means that the examinee must be independent of the charity and not influenced by it or its trustees. The examinee must not be involved with the charity in any capacity to avoid a conflict of interest and to provide an unbiased account.

For more peace of mind, you should absolutely consider conducting a little independent research and use the online resources provided by the Australian Charities and Not-For-Profit Commission (ACNC) in order to find charities that have lodged their information with the commission. Chances are you’ll be able to find a plethora of local and highly reputable charities to work with.

Find a charity that aligns with your own values

The next most important action to take is to try and find a charity whose motives and values align with your own. There are a great deal of charitable causes looking for donations around the world, with Australia alone boasting more than 56,000 charities and growing at a rate of 4% per year!

There will always be a charity vying for your attention, and giving to a reputable organisation is always beneficial regardless of how stringently you scrutinise the cause. That being said, having a personal connection to the charity or feeling as if your money is going to a cause that is meaningful to you, can be the difference between your donation leaving you feeling fulfilled or wishing you’d directed it elsewhere.

Consider your own interests and passions – if there is a religious organisation you are a part of, consider the charitable organisations to which they donate. If there is a sport or hobby that you have found has been helpful for boosting your own emotional health and wellbeing, consider an organisation that may assist in bringing the joy of that pastime to people who could also benefit from the healthy dopamine boost that that sport or hobby may offer.

Do your own vetting

Whilst checking whether the charity has been independently audited is helpful, it can better your own peace of mind to be able to see the numbers for yourself. Look through your preferred charity’s online reports to see their revenue and how their money is being spent.

Charity ranking tools such as ChangePath are valuable in giving you an overview of a particular charity at a glance. These kinds of resources are an excellent jumping off point, giving you an overview of each charity and their operations. However, further research can help greatly in developing your understanding of where your money will be going.

Be certain to keep your ear to the ground in terms of where your chosen charity has its focus at any given time. Often, already established charities will have fundraising efforts for different causes, depending on current events. If there’s a particular cause that you feel passionately about, there may very well be a reputable charity who is currently focusing on that issue.

Donate more than dollars

Although donating money may seem like the simplest and most direct way to help your cause, there are often a range of other ways to help. Consider volunteering with an organisation whose values align with your own, like an animal shelter or a soup kitchen. Volunteering also holds a myriad of personal benefits to you as well, including but not limited to the fact that volunteering is a great way to meet like-minded people and even develop certain sets of skills, all the while donating your time in a meaningful way. It also looks great on a resume!

Volunteering comes with a personal sense of fulfilment that can be much more immediately palpable than donating money. It is also a great option for those who may not be at a liberty to make any substantial donations. The impact you make can be direct, like in the case of Pip Sumbak and Wal Foster, who donated their time to assist recent flood victims in NSW by making over 60,000 meals in the span of only a week.


Humans are social, community-oriented creatures who often seek to help one another – this drive to help is not something that can be easily ignored. With this in mind, it’s important to note that donating time or money to a charity or cause can be an intensely personal endeavour that lacks a one-size-fits-all option.

There are many organisations with a wide and varied set of causes they support, and it’s important to ensure you are making a measurable positive impact with every donation you make. If you put in the research and are certain of the causes you would like to support, then you can be rest assured that your money or effort will absolutely be going the distance.

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John is a serial entrepreneur and writer who is passionate about helping small businesses launch and grow. His work has been featured in Huffington Post, Entrepreneur, and Forbes.