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January 19, 2012 / compassioninpolitics

How to decide which nonprofits to support

Here is a quick list of questions which might help you make a decision between competing organizations. In order to think about value in non-profit organizations you have to think about it like an investment–because thats exactly what it is. What are you investing in?

1. the people
2. the community
3. the methodology & systems
4. results

How do you best check how you are investing in these areas?

Credibility of Organization:
Do I know the person running or working at the organization? How long have I known the person? *
Have I seen and heard the stories of real people effected by their programs?
Impact Evaluation & Data Transparency for Results:
Can they track results? Do they track results?
Are they transparent about results?
Can they provide data input & output (ie effectiveness and/or impact evaluation)?
Do they have a track record of success?
Are they a high impact organization? Is there a big ripple effect?
Goals, Objectives & Personal Sync:
Do I have multiple goals for my investment?

There may be better ways to evaluate organization….but I though these questions could be focused into 3 to 4 core questions for each individual–and provide a credible and effective criteria for impact investment in non-profit organizations. I hope this list can help you provide a criteria to increase the impact of your investments. I’ve also included this article on evaluating nonprofit organizations which I published earlier on Compassion in Politics.

* This is not to discourage investment in overseas organization–but just to think through those decisions to ensure you are working with a credible organization. I primarily am interested in avoiding political orgs/non-profit orgs that are basically sales letter driven but can’t effectively demonstrate impact, transparency, data, or credibility.

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