Do what the millionaires do: Before giving away money, find out about the organization you intend to donate to and carefully consider how the money will be used. Be sure that the money will be used for its intended purpose and spent carefully. Who will actually benefit from the money? If you haven’t the time, consider Donor-Advised Funds managed by a foundation such as Marin Community Foundation. Such organizations will manage charitable donations on behalf of your organization, family or you personally.
If you would like to learn more about donor-advised giving programs, check Wikipedia.
The GivingUSA Foundation has prepared an Executive Summary of their Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2010, rsearched and written at The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University.
Following are excerpts:
- Even through a period of economic stress and volatility, Americans have continued to give; our country’s individuals, corporations and foundations donated $290.89 billion to charity in 2010.
- More than five decades of “Giving USA” data show that donors want to make a difference; you just have to show them how they can.
- Giving by individuals rose an estimated 2.7 percent in 2010 (1.1 percent adjusted for inflation). It is a modest increase consistent with previous post-recessionary years over the last four decades.
- Giving by foundations remained steady; family foundations provided approximately 48% of all grant funding. Corporate giving rose an estimated 10.6% in 2010.
- Giving to religion rose only slightly, but as has been the case for 56 years, the religion subsector received the largest share of charitable dollars, with an estimated 35% of the total in 2010
- Education rose 5.2%, human services (such as Marin Family Action) remained steady in 2010, health rose 1.3 (a decline when adjusted for inflation), public-society benefit organizations rose 6.2% and to arts/culture/humanities rose 5.7%, international affairs rose an estimated 15.3%, environmental and animal organizations dropped slightly, giving to individuals for medications remained steady.
Charitable gifts to grantmaking independent, community, and operating foundations are estimated to be the third-highest ranking recipient category in 2010 with 11% of all charitable dollars. This would seems to skew the end result of who gets what given that these organizations then donate to their constituents which could be any of the areas of need indicated above.