Are we doing our homework?

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America is the most generous nation in the world, with nearly 1 million charities receiving public support. A few key motivators prompt our giving—our personal experience with an organization, a bricks and mortar presence, and the belief the organization will endure for the long term. Americans are the most generous to their churches, universities and hospitals, with 62% of annual giving to religion and education alone.

But what about all the other needs? And the worthy new initiatives? How do we make informed choices and ensure our giving is meaningful, effective and truly impactful?

Statistics indicate we could do better in researching and assessing our philanthropy. Less than half of all donors, 41%, do research into charities before they give and fewer than 1/5 assess the effectiveness of organizations in the same sector. Compare this to over 69,000,000 sources listed in a Google search to help us “Pick the Best Smartphone”.

Resources can help, like the Stanford Social Innovation Review, for information about how all sectors can be more impactful, and Charity Navigator for non-profit ratings and background. Two books, Give Smart: Philanthropy that Gets Results, by Thomas Tierney and Joel Fleishman and Giving 2.0: Transform Your Giving and Our World, by Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen can take philanthropists to a higher level of informed choice and impact. Here in Austin, you can see non-profit listings by focus area at I Live Here, I Give Here.

Are you interested in learning more about effective philanthropy? Rodman & Associates can support you in your aim to apply best practices, conduct individualized research and assess outcomes of the non-profits in your area of interest and prioritize future gifts. Let us bring our years of experience and multiple resources to these important tasks.