Are you and your family looking for a way to make a difference in the world but are unsure where to begin? It’s not surprising when there are millions of causes out there competing for your donations. Here are some tips that will help you get started:


Give to a cause that’s meaningful to you

Everyone will find different causes meaningful to them. Some people are natural animal lovers and feel drawn to help causes like the Humane Society while others have soft spots for children and may prefer to give to a children’s charity.


If you’ve gone through a hard time in your life when you could’ve used help, search for an organization related to that hardship. If you can find a cause that means a lot to you personally, you’ll find giving is more enjoyable.


Do your research

When giving away your hard-earned money, it’s essential to know how it will be used. Even if the cause is one that’s near to your heart, how can you be sure that the organization is effective at creating positive change in that area?


There are plenty of tools available to you that can assist with researching non-profits. Charity Navigator is a popular site that reports on larger non-profits (those claiming over $1 million in annual revenue). Charity Watch or the BBB’s Wise Giving Alliance are also useful as references. The information available on these websites include income amount, foundation status, and effectiveness reports.


If you aren’t sure where to start, you can look at one of these sites and see which charities they rank as the “best.” If one stands out to you, cross reference it on other sites. If the consensus is that the organization is legitimate and effective, then it’s a good choice.


Give with a plan

Creating a plan for your charitable giving the same way that you would for a business. How much money will you contribute? Will you give monthly or annually? Will you give a more substantial amount to one organization or smaller amounts to several different ones?


If you’re giving as a family, each family member could choose a cause that’s most meaningful to them. Or, you can take a vote and decide on one charity that is worthy of your contribution. Whatever your plan is, decide on it before you begin sending out donations.


Give respectfully and with humility

As a philanthropist, give respectfully and from a place of humility. You are doing a noble act by giving, and of course, you are allowed to be proud of that. But try to remember that you are a part of a community of donors and that every part of that community is valuable. Also, remember to be grateful for the organization and the individuals who work hard to make your donations worthwhile.


Give joyfully

Lastly, whether you’re a solo philanthropist or an altruistic family, be sure to make giving fun. When you enjoy giving, you’ll be happier and you’ll be more likely to give in the future. And who knows? You may even inspire others to become more generous too.