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