In this time of great need, giving to charity, if you have the means, is probably one of the best ways to be neighborly and make a difference. But, how do you decide which charitable cause is most worthy of your time or financial contributions? Here are three ways to help you narrow down which charity you would be most compatible with:

1. Think of your Interests and Personal Values

A donor is probably more motivated to donate time and money to a cause that aligns with their true passions in life, such as music, sports, or the arts. For example, if you enjoy basketball, you may want to coach a free league for underserved youth, or, if you run every morning, perhaps joining a run/walk to raise money for the homeless is an appropriate idea for you.

Sometimes, however, charitable passion is not about pursuing an activity you enjoy. Unfortunately, it can be because you, or people you love, have been on the receiving end of that charity beforehand. For example, maybe you are interested in breast cancer research because your mother had the disease, or perhaps you want to give back to the town food bank because they were there for you when you lost your job.

2. Choose Between Global or Local Philanthropy

It can be appealing to donate specifically to causes in your own backyard because you can see the immediate impact of your help. Or, you may feel that your time and money will make a much larger impact on a smaller-scale charity.

However, sometimes it is good to support global charities that do not have the marketing budget to advertise to every community. This means that you can spread their message and promote goodwill by raising funds in areas that would not otherwise have access to or knowledge about these international issues.

Giving makes a difference no matter where you start. Just remember, there are problems in this world, like COVID-19, and global warming, that affect us all.

3. Research the Organizations that You Want to Help

It should go without saying that you should vet any organization that you plan to give your money to. However, you should also check to be sure that the charity will use your gift wisely. If you are unsure of where to start, there are several companies that specialize in checking charities’ accounting records and ensuring transparency. Many of these companies check tax records and government filings so you don’t have to.

In conclusion, while deciding which charity to focus on can be a difficult decision, it is an important one. If you give to a cause that means a lot to you, and the charity does good work, with a proven track record, then you can feel proud knowing that others are benefiting from your time or money.