How do you decide where to donate at the end-of-the-year? Is it the program with greatest presence? The one on every corner? The cause that serves the most people? The enterprise that sends you an appeal letter with a note from a friend? Or, the nonprofit that provided you with a direct service? Do you have a comparison chart to measure the impact of each organization? What metrics do you use?
I project that we use a hybrid approach. Some gifts come from the arm-twisting of a friend. Others are generated because we cannot say ‘no’ to the child making a personal appeal on our doorstep. A few enterprises are on the annual dole. The real question might be, which causes do you give to that make you feel proud? The ones that you want to encourage other people to join you and contribute? The ones that believe what you believe. Notice that not everyone shares your belief, which is the beauty of philanthropy. There are nonprofits that offer sophisticated programs to rescue dust bunnies from extinction and others that aim to put an end to poverty. They do not need everyone, just those that deeply share their conviction.