Most people give to charity because someone they trust asked them to give. Our friend is in a walk-run-skip-bike-a-thon, so we give them some money. A business associate has a spare ticket to an event, so you tag along and get caught up in the silent auction. And so on.
This blog post caught me off-guard because I have never stopped to think about how to donate to charity. When I was first getting interested in causes, I had no money to give. Now that I'm working, I'm in the sector; I never think of myself as a "donor" or a "philanthropist".
There are a ton of articles out there saying you should pick your charity based on "measurable results" and "proven track record" and "low overhead" etc. etc. That might be good advice, but it's too impersonal. Giving is an intimate thing.
Am I giving to what I really want to change in the world?
Each year, Lauren picks three causes that are a priority for her, and gives money and time to them. She offered a handful of questions during the podcast to help determine personal giving priorities:
What brings me joy? What really excites me? What inspires me?
What makes me sad?
Is there a way that I've needed help that someone, or an organization reached out to me?
Are there things that my family gave to when I was growing up?
Is there is someone I want to honor?
Do I want to pool my money with someone else and/or put together resources with a group of friends to have a bigger impact?
I love those questions. I think they help to identify the type of cause that is really important to you, and dramatically increases the odds of forming a real bond with a charity that needs like-minded supporters.