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There are so many philanthropic organizations in America–more than 1.5 million–that selecting one to support financially can be an overwhelming choice. Luckily for you, there are a number of tools you can use and questions you can ask to make sure that you choose the charity that’s right for you!

Do Your Homework

Unfortunately, not all philanthropic and charitable organizations are created equal. While there are many nonprofits that commit the majority of their resources and focus to making a positive difference in the world, there are also a significant number of organizations that spend only a fraction of their budgets and incomes on philanthropic activities; instead, these organizations may pay their employees bloated salaries or, in a potential worst-case-scenario, funnel money intended for good works for personal gain.

To make sure that your donation actually has the impact you want it to–instead of winding up in the pocket of some greedy foundation director–do some research about various philanthropies before you make a contribution. There are some great resources, like CharityNavigator.org and GuideStar.org, that can help explain how transparent organizations are, how much of their budget actually goes toward charitable programs, and more.

Consider Your Values

What is important to you? To your business? These questions can help guide your decision regarding an organization to support. In fact, selecting a philanthropy that matches your values or your mission can lead to a heightened sense of satisfaction over your gift. For example, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation supports educational initiatives in scientific and technical fields, which directly aligns with the mission of the company that Gates’ co-founded, Microsoft. Take a look at philanthropies that support causes which are important to you before making your next gift!

Look in Your Own Backyard

Donating to a philanthropic organization with a national or even global reach is appealing, but there are also local organizations that do good work in your own community. Instead of sending your money to an organization that does meaningful work hundreds of miles away, for your next donation, consider giving to a group that serves your local area. Or better yet, once you find an organization that you like, roll up your sleeves and become a volunteer!

For more information about Windows USA and our commitment to philanthropy, visit our website!