Deciding on a cause

Yesterday I wrote about Bill Gates’ and Warren Buffett’s Giving Pledge. It is their initiative in which they were able to obtain commitments from 40 American billionaires. The money will go to charities and causes of the donors choosing. There isn’t too much information on what causes these people will give money to, but hopefully a bunch of them will take a page out of the Miami Heat book.

By that I mean that they should team up and give a lot of money to one or two important causes. However, the question still remains: Where should they put their money? This question is not exclusive to them, but to all people that have money and are thinking of donating some of it. There are so many causes that can make use of donations that it can be very difficult to decide what to focus on.

There are two main approaches for allocating money for charity. You either choose a single issue and allocate most or all of the donation to that cause or you come up with a list of several causes and spread out the donation to all of them. There is no right or wrong answer here, but often one charity with a lot of new money can achieve more than what the sum of charities with a small amount of money each can achieve combined. The first thing you should look at is what the cause you’re looking at plans to do with your money and how much money they actually need to accomplish their goals. Sometimes that figure is known and not impossibly high.

As North Americans, we are used to thinking about less fortunate countries when we think of donations. However, there are many people in the U.S., Canada and other developed countries that need help in many ways. You don’t have to look at a globe to decide where to give money to. Some of the most important causes that need your help are in your own city or country. Don’t always look abroad for your donations when people are in need right outside your doorstep.

Another good place to start is to think about diseases or issues that affected your family. Most likely there has been some family member that had Cancer and that might be something close to your heart. This is always a good choice because it affects so many people. However, there are many organizations focusing on this so make sure to do your research before you decide which one to place your donation with.

Which ever cause you decide, the most important thing is that you feel comfortable with your decision. You don’t want to feel like you’ve given money to a good cause but the organization you chose to give it to will not maximize the use of that money. You also don’t want to feel like there was a better cause to give money to but you were pressured in to giving it to some other issue. Charity is an important part of success. All successful people have a responsibility to give back once they have achieved it so others will have more opportunity to achieve similar successes.