How To Contribute to a Non Profit Organization

The term "non-profit organization" can sometimes be misleading.  "Not-for-profit" is a term that more aptly characterizes a non-profit organization's relationship with money; the purpose of a non-profit organization is not to make profit (as is the bottom-line purpose of typical businesses), but making money is vital to the organization's mission.  When profit is made, rigid restrictions govern what can be done with the money.  Contributions are the lifeblood of non-profit organizations.  Without public and private contribution, non-profit organizations would not be able to play their pivotal role in our world.  When it comes to contributing, you will be faced with a sea of possibilities, and the challenge will be choosing where to contribute your time or financial resources.

  1. Find a non-profit organization whose social or charitable cause is appealing to you.  There are literally millions of non-profit organizations from which to choose.  Visit Wikipedia's list of non-profit organizations, or search for local non-profits online.  By entering your location and the phrase "non-profit organizations," you can find a wealth of information through Google or Yahoo.
  2. What kind of contribution?  Donating your money is not the only way to contribute to a non-profit organization.  You could also volunteer your time and services.  Job search websites like Monster and CareerBuilder can be useful for finding available non-profit jobs in your area.  But don't be afraid to research your interests and contact an organization whose mission appeals greatly to you, regardless of purported job availability.  Visit our article about how to get non-profit training, and let you heart guide you! 
  3. Not all non-profit organizations are equal.  When donating money to a non-profit organization, research how they allocate funds within their organization.  In the case of charitable organizations, how much of donations is spent on operational costs?  Non-profit organizations often rely on the services of fundraising companies that must be paid.  How much of your money will go directly toward the aid or service central to the organization's mission?  You have a right to know.  As in all sectors, transparency should be rewarded in the community of non-profit organizations.  When comparing organizations, you may find it appealing to donate your money where the greatest percentage of it will go directly toward the cause.
  4. Religious non-profit organizations are very active and prevalent in the United States, and their missions often extend around the globe.  If you subscribe to a particular faith - or even if you don't, yet feel that the service provided is unparalleled or otherwise nonexistent - contributing to a religious non-profit organization is a good option for you.  Religious non-profits may not have to adhere to the same federal filing rules, or be inspected to the same extent, as other non-profit organizations.  As always, learn all you can about the organization before making the contribution. 

Non-profit organizations allow us to contribute in whatever way possible to the betterment of society.  When you find a non-profit whose values and principles you share, there is nothing more rewarding than making a contribution.


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