Charity Donations Are Great, but Doing This Is Better

Engaging with nonprofits is the best way to assess their impacts and enrich your contributions.

Jun 15, 2014 at 2:17PM

Many people who give charitable donations to nonprofits are uncertain that their giving is effective -- that it makes a difference, that the nonprofits are high-performing, and that significant impacts are being achieved. You can do research on a nonprofit's website, and rating sites like Charity Navigator and Guide Star, which provide background information on nonprofits.

However, if you're passionate about a nonprofit's cause, you can offer it more than a monetary contribution -- and learn how your contributions are being used. Here is the best way to assess nonprofits, and multiply the impact of your giving: Engage.

All Hands

Source: Flickr user, Michael Cardus

  • Volunteer: Help to do the work of the organization, whether it is community service, joining a committee or board, or helping in its administrative office. You will meet staff people and other volunteers, see how they work, and better understand how it is supporting its beneficiaries.
  • Attend events: Most nonprofits put on events for fundraising, advocacy, or media purposes. You will meet other supporters, and get a sense of their constituent network, while providing some help. In the process, you might also make some good contacts for yourself, and even have some fun.
  • Participate in social media: Sign up for a nonprofit's electronic newsletter, Twitter feed, or blog RSS feed. You'll learn more about the organization and its efforts. And using these outlets, you can easily share with others, spreading its message and building its support community. Better yet, share your story publicly, about why you support this organization's mission. Nothing is as influential as a sincere, personal recommendation.
  • Help raise funds: This prospect can send chills through some people; others participate with gusto. Studies show that about 30% of donors actively fundraise for organizations they care about. Nonprofits provide help, and make it as easy as possible for you, so please consider it when they ask. You will benefit from knowing that you belong to a community of contributors, are helping it to grow, and the people you reach out to may be impressed by your generosity.

Nobody has time or money to waste, so skillful and sustainable giving takes some planning and research. A good first step is to identify a few focus areas of concern, and then do some field research into nonprofits working in those areas by making an initial donation, learning more about an organization on the Web, and finding an opportunity to engage in person.

Take advantage of this little-known tax "loophole"
Recent tax increases have affected nearly every American taxpayer. But with the right planning, you can take steps to take control of your taxes and potentially even lower your tax bill. In our brand-new special report, "The IRS Is Daring You to Make This Investment Now!," you'll learn about the simple strategy to take advantage of a little-known IRS rule. Don't miss out on advice that could help you cut taxes for decades to come. Click here to learn more.

4 in 5 Americans Are Ignoring Buffett's Warning

Don't be one of them.

Jun 12, 2015 at 5:01PM

Admitting fear is difficult.

So you can imagine how shocked I was to find out Warren Buffett recently told a select number of investors about the cutting-edge technology that's keeping him awake at night.

This past May, The Motley Fool sent 8 of its best stock analysts to Omaha, Nebraska to attend the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting. CEO Warren Buffett and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger fielded questions for nearly 6 hours.
The catch was: Attendees weren't allowed to record any of it. No audio. No video. 

Our team of analysts wrote down every single word Buffett and Munger uttered. Over 16,000 words. But only two words stood out to me as I read the detailed transcript of the event: "Real threat."

That's how Buffett responded when asked about this emerging market that is already expected to be worth more than $2 trillion in the U.S. alone. Google has already put some of its best engineers behind the technology powering this trend. 

The amazing thing is, while Buffett may be nervous, the rest of us can invest in this new industry BEFORE the old money realizes what hit them.

KPMG advises we're "on the cusp of revolutionary change" coming much "sooner than you think."

Even one legendary MIT professor had to recant his position that the technology was "beyond the capability of computer science." (He recently confessed to The Wall Street Journal that he's now a believer and amazed "how quickly this technology caught on.")

Yet according to one J.D. Power and Associates survey, only 1 in 5 Americans are even interested in this technology, much less ready to invest in it. Needless to say, you haven't missed your window of opportunity. 

Think about how many amazing technologies you've watched soar to new heights while you kick yourself thinking, "I knew about that technology before everyone was talking about it, but I just sat on my hands." 

Don't let that happen again. This time, it should be your family telling you, "I can't believe you knew about and invested in that technology so early on."

That's why I hope you take just a few minutes to access the exclusive research our team of analysts has put together on this industry and the one stock positioned to capitalize on this major shift.

Click here to learn about this incredible technology before Buffett stops being scared and starts buying!

David Hanson owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway and American Express. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, Google, and Coca-Cola.We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

©1995-2014 The Motley Fool. All rights reserved. | Privacy/Legal Information