Selecting Charities

Finding and selecting effective organisations to support is the key to rewarding philanthropy. Even if you know the cause and geography where you want to direct your support, it can be difficult to find suitable organisations, and to assess which will make the most of your funding.

Resources to find charities

Most people start by giving to organisations that approach them for support, or that come via a personal recommendation. However, some people want to give in a more pro-active way, selecting effective charities that tackle a specific cause. But with over 160,000 registered charities in the UK alone, there are likely to be a number of charities that match your funding interests in terms of cause, size, location and so on.

It is usually straightforward to identify the biggest players in each field. However if you want to give to smaller organisations, or to charities working in underfunded areas, working locally or addressing an unmet need, it can be challenging to find appropriate organisations where you are confident that you donation will have an impact.

There are a number of ways you can access information: through online research, by linking with existing experts in the field, and through specialist intermediaries.

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Giving networks

While some people believe that giving is a very private activity, others like to share the pleasure of giving and be part of a group where issues relating to wealth and charity can be discussed freely. By giving as a group, donors can learn together about their community and about philanthropy.

These groups, known as giving circles and networks, can take many forms and generally involve groups of individuals coming together with a philanthropic purpose, pooling their resources, and deciding collectively where to give their money.

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Charity selection

Charitable giving can change people’s lives. When donors give to effective charities, the results can be rewarding for everyone involved. But how can donors make sure they choose effective charities? On what grounds should they make their giving decisions?

Many people choose to give to charities where there is a strong personal connection. But increasing numbers of donors are also interested in selecting charities according to their results, i.e. the changes that occur in people’s lives as a consequence of the charity’s work. Results can be hard to measure and articulate but more and more charities are collecting evidence to demonstrate what they achieve. Donors can ensure that their giving makes a difference by asking charities questions that focus on results.

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