Too Many Choices

Submitted 2 years ago
Created by
Andrea Conger

Every Non Profit Needs Funds. How To Pick Our Favorite?

I have experience in being on both sides. I have been the 'beggar' and the giver.

I run a charity. I do not sell products or charge fees for any transactions.  The professional service I provide to owners of animals needing help is free. All funds I "beg" for go towards vet bills, mobility devices for handicapped animals.  

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As a private resident, I often volunteer my time in different settings.  Once in a while I can afford to send money to a non profit organization. I too, feel bombarded by adds put up by thousands of Non Profits. My Facebook page is filled with requests. I get notifications via snail mail or over the phone. Some catches my attention, some do not. 

What we perceive as important depends greatly on our own values. For instance, I imagine, gaining the vegetarian population's attention by a grocery store flyer featuring pork chops on sale would be quite unsuccessful. Or take the example of non profits providing technological innovation to local schools. Do they advertise among the elderly population? Of course not. Their team is trained and focused targeting populations that have been proven to react positively to requests involving both technology and education. 

So... how do they really attract their donors besides sending out newsletters showing graphs of success, in this case, educational development in the area of technology ? Better yet, how are we, laypeople pick the cause we vow to support? 

First, as I mentioned above, we select the area we are interested in, then seek out, pay attention to non profits who are serving the area we gravitate towards. In my case it is animal welfare and the prevention of child abuse. 

Once we narrowed down our list of non profits  we feel especially passionate towards, we really start being more selective. It is about giving money, after all. We look at the history of the organization. Most people are careful about newly formed non profits, since statistics support the fact that 50% of them will not make it. Has it been around for a while and has it been delivering according to its mission? Would I feel welcomed if I visited the organization? Are the financial statements transparent? These are just a few of many questions we ask before committing to a monthly donation amount. 

Before your head starts spinning, it gets even more complicated. Let me explain it using my own case. Obviously, being an animal advocate, every time I see an injured animal featured with a heartbreaking story, I open the GoFundMe page and check where the funds stand. Can I donate to every single one I come across? Of course not. I check my local animal shelters' adoptable animals on a weekly basis, read updates on the Child Protection Services website, SPCA, WISE, and on and on. Do I take in all abused animals, children or victims of domestic assault? Do I donate to every organization? No, no and no. 

We need to know that advertisements focusing on the welfare of living beings are meant to break your heart, they are meant to trigger feelings. If you study marketing, the psychology of advertisement, you learn this. We can easily get lost in the sea of needy children and animals. We can spend endless money on different non profits, nationally and internationally. 

Of course the books matter a great deal.  For every dollar you give, how much is getting to the cause you care about?  There have been many scandals over the years – and I’m sure a lot of generous people now hold back in fear of feeding some crook preying on good hearts.  Would you give to the starving children if you knew 50 cents on each dollar went toward the staff’s shiny new office furniture? 

So after all this, let's ask the question again. How do we decide what non profits  we support? 

The answer is - it is all in your heart. Whatever pulls your heartstrings will make you open your wallet. Giving makes us feel good. Giving heals.

Technology, education, poverty, women's rights, animal welfare, fly fishing, or the trade of instrument building...  if it speaks to us, we are sold. 

Giving became a norm and I am grateful. We have to keep boundaries, but just having the general disposition of a giving person makes this world truly a better place. 

Andrea Conger 

Chelsea's Footprints 


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