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Create a mission statement
Before you give, think about what you want your gift to accomplish. Identify the causes you care most about and research to find the best charities carrying out that type of work. Taking the time to plan and create a strategic approach to will give you the biggest philanthropic bang for your charitable buck.
Research your options
Look up the charity or charities you’re thinking about supporting—Charity Navigator, Guidestar and BBB Wise Giving Alliance are useful resources for donors who want to research charities. Don’t be afraid to call the charity directly and ask questions about their programs and how your money will be spent. Legitimate organizations will be happy to speak to potential new donors.
Make your plan
Decide how much you can give through the year and stick to your budget. To make the biggest impact, give bigger gifts to fewer organizations and stick with the same organizations for the long haul. If you continue to give to the same charity year after year, your donations will provide a consistent funding source that lets the charity focus more on programming than fundraising.