Your charity check list: what to consider before choosing a charity
Choosing a charity to support isn't as easy as picking one out of a hat. Your choice should be personal and your reasons are unique to you, but here are just a few things that you might want to think about:
What cause do you want to support?
Typically the first thing that people think about is the cause that they're supporting. There are children's charities, animal charities, charities for the elderly and charities to raise money, and awareness, for a wide range of illnesses and disabilities. Think about which cause is the most important to you.
Do you want to support a large or small charity?
There are big name charities such as the Red Cross, the RSPCA and the NSPCC. There are also much smaller charities, some of which work on a local level or are only recently established. Decide whether you want to contribute to a large and potentially powerful charity that will be making big waves but will have high running costs, or whether you want to support and contribute to a smaller charity that might only help one or two people but will be fighting to get noticed and raise funds.
Is location important?
Some people don't mind where their charity is based or who it helps. Others will want to contribute to their local community.
Do you want feedback?
We give to charity because we want to help and make a difference. It's a selfless endeavour, giving with no expectation of anything in return. However it's always nice to hear about how your donations are helping, so that you know you're not throwing your money away. Most charities provide feedback in the form of newsletters and emails, but if personalised feedback is particularly important then you might choose to sponsor a child with the option to send letters and receive responses. Animal charities that allow you to sponsor a specific animal might also send regular updates about the animal that you've chosen.
How do you want to donate or support your chosen charity?
Will you donate your time, or your money? You can choose simply to make a one-off or regular payment, but might instead choose a different way of contributing your funds. Animal charities often provide options to sponsor a specific animal or enclosure, hospices might run charity lotteries or, for a future donation, you might write a charity into your will.
How specific do you want to be?
Some charities will let you choose to support a very specific cause or a specific person or animal, some will let you choose to sponsor an animal and will send relevant updates but will pool all donations for the use of the charity as a whole. In other cases, your money is just part of a central pot of funds to be used however your chosen charity sees fit. If you want to contribute to a more specific cause, why not see if there is another charity out there that will narrow things down? For example, you might choose Cancer Research UK to donate to cancer research as a whole but could select a specific charity for breast cancer, ovarian cancer, lung cancer, testicular cancer or skin cancer if you have a particular interest in supporting one area.