1. Ask yourself: What do I want to support?
Whether in newspapers, on TV, by email or at the front door – organizations everywhere are seeking donations.
Find out what you really want to donate to. What is important to you: children? Health? Environment? Animals? Poverty Alleviation? Development Assistance?
Find the cause that your heart beats for.
You should ask yourself these questions:
- Which topic interests me most personally?
- Do I want to support the same organization as last year or a new one?
- Where can I make the most of my donation?
2. Find out.
Information is the be-all and end-all before a donation decision. Find out more on the organization’s website and google what others say about this organization.
Donate only when you feel well informed and your research indicates that the organization does a good job.
What do I look for when I look at a donation organization website?
The following characteristics indicate a trustworthy organization:
- The information on the page is current and not completely out of date.
- The organization provides comprehensive information about its project activities.
- The organization is recognized as a non-profit organization and can prove this with an exemption notice from the tax office.
- The organization works transparently and publishes e.g. annual activity reports, the articles of association and relevant financial data.
- The organization is recognized by reputable institutions, e.g. with the DZI donation seal through the PHINEO effect seal.
3. Ask about.
The willingness to provide information about your own organization or a specific project is an important criterion for seriousness.
As a donor, you should feel welcome with questions. Especially when it comes to a larger donation for you, you should clarify open questions on the phone. For very large donations, an on-site visit is advisable.
How can I tell if my questions are welcome?
Organizations that willingly provide information recognize that …
- You are offered to get a personal picture on site,
- You get an answer to your questions,
- the organization publishes an annual report that provides transparent information about the activity, the organization itself and the finances,
- the members of the management and supervisory board are mentioned in the brochures or on the website,
- You will be offered contact to the technically responsible employees.
4. Pay attention to effect.
As a donor, you should feel that you can make a difference with your donation.
Evaluations and analyzes can provide information as to whether the organization’s work is successful. Therefore, pay attention to whether and to what extent the organization reports results and results.
How do I recognize effective projects?
The organization …
- has a clear vision and relevant experience in the field for which she is collecting donations,
- sets goals, makes them transparent and reviews their achievement,
- describes their progress and concrete results,
- provides regular information about donations and how they are used.
You can also compare organizations and projects working in the same subject area: Which concepts and approaches work and in which way?
5. Look again before signing.
You can also support projects with regular contributions, e.g. by direct debit or with a sponsoring membership. In addition to many reputable donation organizations, there are of course also black sheep on the go. That is why it is advisable, especially with regular donations, to find out exactly what you are signing.
Do not only make yourself smart about the organization, but check (as with other contracts) the terms and notice periods.
What should I look for before signing?
Make sure that …
- Notice periods for funding contracts are visible and easy to find and
- You don’t overdo yourself financially. Especially with larger sums you should be as sure as possible that you can also pay the contributions.
6. Donate in such a way that it benefits the organization the most.
Purpose-related donations (donations where the organization commits to use the donation for the previously defined purpose) make you feel good because it can support a very specific cause. However, earmarked donations can restrict the organizations’ room for maneuver – for example if the purpose is too narrowly defined. The organization may not use your donation for other activities, but only for the intended purpose. This is unfavorable because flexibility is lost. In the event of a sudden crisis, it cannot react adequately.
In this sense: You have chosen an organization because you trust it. So trust the know-how and experience of the organization. Donate without earmarking!
7. Donate cost-effectively.
Nothing in life is free, not even donation. Every donation incurs costs, such as transaction costs at the bank, account management fees or otherwise. For this reason, for example, payment by direct debit is cheaper than by credit card.
Two pointers in this context:
- Administrative costs are an essential part of community service. Organizations have to pay rent, modernize their IT – or just buy donation software.
- Better consider making a larger donation than many small ones.
- Donations to non-profit organizations (from sports clubs, to churches, to charities) can be deducted from tax. So, get a donation receipt or present your account statement to the tax office for a donation of up to 200 euros.
What should I pay attention to when paying?
Before paying, you should make sure that you …
- donate by bank transfer or direct debit, because that causes the lowest costs and
- get a donation receipt for donations over 200 euros (with online forms there is usually the question of whether a donation receipt is desired).
8. Be strategic with larger donations.
With larger donations you should definitely donate strategically!
Define key data such as goals, funding topics, forms of investment or funding guidelines. Strategic donations make a significant contribution to achieving social effects.
If you take these tips to heart, you are already one step closer to a targeted donation!