Donate money to charity

The right way to donate - 8 tips that will really make your donation go through

Practical tip

Which organization can you entrust your money to? We give tips on how you can make the most of your donation and how you can identify dubious organizations.

1. Ask yourself: What do I want to support?

Whether in newspapers, on television, by e-mail or at the front door - organizations everywhere are soliciting donations.

Make sure you understand what you really want to donate for. What is important to you: children? Health? Environment? Animals? Poverty Reduction? Development Assistance?

Pick the cause your heart beats for.

You should ask yourself these questions:

  • Which topic am I most interested in personally?
  • Do I want to support the same organization as last year or a new one?
  • Where can I make the most impact with my donation?

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2. Find out more.

Information is the be-all and end-all before making a donation decision. So do some research on the organization's website and google what others are saying about that organization.

Donate only when you feel that you have been adequately informed and your research indicates that the organization has done a good job of quality.

What do I look for when I look at the website of a donation organization?

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  • The information on the page is current and not completely out of date.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 non-profit and can prove this with a notice of exemption 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 has been recognized by reputable institutions, e.g. with the DZI donation seal through the PHINEO-Wirkt seal.

3. Ask.

The willingness to provide information about one's own organization or a specific project is an important criterion for seriousness.

As a donor, you should feel welcome if you have any questions. You should clarify any unanswered questions over the phone, especially if you have to donate a large amount. In the case of very large donations, an on-site visit is advisable.

How do I know if my questions are welcome?

You can recognize organizations that willingly provide information by the fact that ...

  • You are offered to personally get an idea on site,
  • You get an answer to your questions,
  • the organization publishes an annual report that provides transparent information about the activities, the organization itself and the finances,
  • the members of the management and supervisory body are named in the brochures or on the website,
  • You are offered contact with the technically responsible employees.

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4. Look for impact.

As a donor, you should feel that you can make a difference with your donation.

Evaluations and analyzes can provide information on whether the work of the organization is successful. Therefore, pay attention to whether and to what extent the organization reports on results and results.

How do I recognize effective projects?

The organization ...

  • has a clear vision and relevant experience in the subject area for which she is collecting donations,
  • sets goals, makes them transparent and checks whether they have been achieved,
  • describes their progress and concrete results,
  • informs regularly about donations and their use.

You can also compare organizations and projects that work in the same subject area with one another: Which concepts and approaches work in which way?

5. Look again before signing.

You can also support projects with regular contributions, e.g. with a direct debit authorization or with a sponsoring membership. In addition to many reputable donation organizations, there are of course black sheep on the go. That is why it is advisable, especially when making regular donations, that you do your research before signing.

Do not only find out about the organization, but also check (as with other contracts) the terms and notice periods.

What should I look out for before signing?

Make sure that ...

  • Notice periods for funding agreements are visible and easy to find, and
  • Don't overdo yourself financially. Especially with larger sums, you should be as sure as possible that you will be able to pay the contributions.

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6. Donate in a way that will benefit the organization most.

Earmarked donations (donations in which the organization undertakes to use the donation for the purpose defined above) give a good feeling because they can support a very specific cause. However: earmarked donations can restrict the organizations' scope of action - for example if the intended purpose is too narrowly defined. The organization may then not use your donation for other activities, but only for the intended purpose. This is unfavorable because it means that flexibility is lost. If a crisis suddenly occurs, it cannot react adequately.

In this sense: You have chosen an organization because you trust it. So trust in the know-how and experience of the organization. Donate without earmarking!

7. Donate in a cost-saving manner.

Nothing in life is free, including donations. With every donation there are costs, for example for transaction costs at the bank, account management fees or other. This is why, for example, paying by direct debit is cheaper than by credit card.

Two pointers in this context:

  1. Administrative costs are a fundamentally important part of community service. Organizations have to pay rent, modernize their IT - or buy donation software.
  2. It is better to consider a larger donation than many small ones.
  3. Donations to non-profit organizations (from sports clubs to churches and charities) can be tax-deductible. Ask for a donation receipt or present your bank statement to the tax office if you donate up to 200 euros.

What should I pay attention to when paying?

Before making a payment, 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 required).

8. Be strategic with larger donations.

In the case of 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 will be one step closer to making a targeted donation!

Our offer

For more information on how to create a Develop a donation strategy or how you can recognize dubious donation organizations, we make available to you as a download free of charge! If you would like detailed individual advice, please contact us!

And here you will find tips and information on what good project management in non-profit organizations can look like ...

If you work in a fundraising organization yourself and would like to know how Well Your organization is actually working, i.e. which effects it achieves and how transparent it is, we recommend a self-check with the help of our Wirkometer ...