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Giving to a worthy cause and charities can be a very fulfilling experience. With so many people and important issues that need support, it’s sometimes difficult to narrow down who you would like to help. Choosing the right cause can’t just be done on a whim. You want to make sure that your donation is used and what impact it is going to make. When deciding on a charity, there are three things to think about when searching for a worthy cause:

Check to make sure they’re legitimate

With so many nonprofits and charities out there, it can be difficult to determine which are for real. Luckily, there are ways to find legit charities worthy of your donation. The first thing you’re going to start with is a broad search online. Think of the change you to see and where your passions lie. Great websites to start your search are CharityNavigator.org, Give.org, and GuideStar.org. These sites breakdown which charities are legitimate, what they spend donations on and how much they’re spending. From there, you can begin to narrow it down. Also, don’t be shy about giving a few charities you like a call to ask for a tour or overview meeting. This will give you the chance to see the operation in person and get a feel of the organization.

Determine the impact they’re trying to make

It’s important to find a charity that shares your passions. Each legitimate charity is looking to make a unique impact in the world. You must find a charity that fits the same mission as you. If you’re looking into a certain organization, it’s important that you fully support the impact they’re trying to make. This can also be done online or through in-person interviews.  Because there are so many to choose from, it’s perfectly acceptable to choose more than just one. If you’re a person with many passions and wants to see a lot of change in the world, consider choosing two or three charities looking to make this change.

Take a look at their annual report

Many organizations can say one thing but then go do another thing with its contributions. To determine if a nonprofit or charity is actually making the impact they said they wanted to, look at their annual report or program data that tracks their activities. Asking for this information can show you the progress they’re making and how they measure this progress. If you like what you see and feel inspired by the documented change they’re made, then you’ve found a worthy cause.

This process doesn’t happen overnight. To find a worthy cause and the right charity for you, you have to put in the time to search for it. Putting the time in will be worth it after you start to see the impact you are helping make.