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    How to Invest in Impact

    Expert tips on how to find organizations making an impact and ensure your donations do the same.

    You want to give to charities doing good work, but news stories about scams and misuse of funds make you hesitant to hit the donate button. While reports of fraud and mismanagement can take the forefront in the media, the reality is that the vast majority of charities are working in good faith to do good work. Of the 200,000+ charities Charity Navigator rates, only 400 have Alerts, indicating that there is a reported or confirmed misconduct. So, how can you navigate this landscape, minimizing risk and donating with confidence to support the positive changes you wish to see in the world? You can give confidently by researching charities and focusing on their impact. 


    According to a study by Fidelity Charitable, 65% of donors would give more if they knew the impact of their donations. Below are expert tips from the Charity Navigator team on how to find organizations making an impact and ensure your donations do the same. 


    Make Your Goals Clear

    There are endless ways to do good in the world and almost as many charities working toward worthwhile goals. The first thing you must decide as a donor is what you want to accomplish with your gifts. Whether you aim to alleviate homelessness in your community, bolster national-level journalism, or tackle the global climate crisis, clarifying what you want to accomplish will help you narrow your search for organizations to support. 


    Use Third-Party Evaluators

    You aren’t alone in your mission to find impactful nonprofits to support. Third-party evaluators, like Charity Navigator, are here to provide insights and guidance for your giving. Rather than starting from scratch with your research, take advantage of the wealth of information already available online - this will streamline your process and help you find the right match more quickly. 


    Look Beyond Financial Data for Impact

    While nonprofit financial information does offer insights into efficiency and sustainability, it should not be the sole determining factor for philanthropic decision-making. Evaluating charities’ effectiveness and trustworthiness involves considering various aspects beyond just finances such as their impact, equity practices, leadership, and more. Make sure you evaluate the charity holistically before deciding whether or not to donate. The team at Charity Navigator knows this isn't simple - that's why we rate hundreds of thousands of organizations for you, assessing multiple areas of effectiveness.


    Volunteer in Person to See the Work on the Ground

    Volunteering is both an excellent way to give back and a great way to see the impact of an organization in action. Begin by determining your volunteering interests and the time commitment you can make. Then, compile a list of charities you're passionate about and inquire about available volunteer opportunities. Through your volunteering experience, you’ll gain valuable insights into the charity's operations and witness the direct impact on beneficiaries—which will give you great insight into whether this is an organization you want to continue supporting. 


    Align your Giving Practices to Nonprofit Needs

    The way you give has the potential to help a nonprofit thrive and achieve impact. Once you have chosen organizations to support, consider their needs as you make your gift. For example, many nonprofits benefit from the stability created by recurring donations. Nonprofits are the ones best positioned to know what they need and may explicitly state how they prefer to be supported. When possible, honor their wishes to help increase their impact. 


    Use Charity Navigator's Resources 


    Making an impact requires intention, but it doesn’t have to be hard. With these tips in mind, you are ready to jump in. Charity Navigator's advanced search can help you filter down the more than 200,000 rated charities to find the impactful organizations that align with your values to get you started.