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How to Choose Which Nonprofits to Support

How to Choose Which Nonprofits to Support

how choose which nonprofits support
How to Choose Which Nonprofits to Support

As Autumn takes its sweet time to roll in, we can’t help but notice our social feeds quickly beginning to fill up with influencers apple-picking in oversized sweaters and posing perfectly in pumpkin patches. A true indication that the Season of Giving is upon us.

In 2017, over an estimated 410 billion dollars were given to charitable causes with 30% of those donations given in December alone

Now, hold on to your butts, because a whopping 70% of those donations were straight from fine folks just like yourselves.

Yup. We’re talking individual donors.

We’re not here to say, “We told you so.” But, we meant it when we said we’re stronger when we work together.

Did you think that was a global figure? Oh, no-no-no.

That’s just in the US of A. Take a bow, America! We give more to charities than any other country around the world.

That being said, we felt now would be a great time to share some valuable information we securely lock away at DTD’s HQ. (Otherwise known as our founder’s couch.)

You see, we’ve hand-picked every single awesome nonprofit that you see on our partner’s page and, well, we have some pretty *high* standards…

Let’s just say, if you called us “experts”, we wouldn’t correct you.

It took countless hours to find nonprofits that both worked in tandem with the Sustainable Development Goals and practiced transparency. So, during this inevitably busy season of giving, we’ll save you some time and share some fool-proof tips on how to choose which nonprofits to support.

How to Choose Which Nonprofits to Support

Transparency

Repeat after me: 501(c)3

A certified Non-Profit Organization is registered as “tax-exempt”. Also referred to as an NGO, charity … or 501(c)3. It’s a lot to take in with us throwing all of these terms around, but you can usually find their 501(c)3 badge of approval at the bottom of most nonprofit websites.

Being a tax-deductible organization means everything is on public record from the charity’s location to how much the CEO makes. And it’s all useful information that you might wanna take into consideration when choosing a charity.

If you’re concerned about the organization’s religious or political motives, you’re able to see exactly where the donations are coming from on their annual reports. Those juicy details are available on sites like:

-Charity Navigator

-American Institute of Philanthropy 

-Charity Watch

-GuideStar

Financial reports are serious business, however Dan Pallotta’s TED Talk hits the nail on the head urging us to allow charities the financial freedom to be innovative in an attempt to gain more donors or permit larger projects that may require more time and capitol.

Our man Dan references how he didn’t raise over $200 million in AIDS research by putting up flyers at cafes. It took campaigns, marketing, and of course, money upfront.

Spending money to make money. A concept that’s proven successful time and time again with regular old for-profit businesses.

Why can’t we allow Charities to do the same? We could go on and on about this, but we suggest you watch that TED Talk. It’s undeniable and worth every 18 minutes and 40 seconds of listening.

Either way, do some detective work and support transparent causes that get sh*t done.

Mission

Consider this a two-for-one.

First, what’s the nonprofit’s mission?

Every NGO has a mission. It’s most likely painted across their website a trillion times.

This part is easy: Does it align with your fundamental goals and values?

Yes? Great! We’re getting close to picking a charity.

Second, is it realistic?

Listen, we all have dreams. Believe me. We had The Area 51 Raid marked on our calendars ever since we saw the first memes. But we can’t always get what we want. It still stings.

In the non-profit sector, the charity should be able to provide a detailed outline of how they’ll achieve their goals. This includes spending reports, projections and an outline explaining. Think of it as a business plan that’s available to the public.

While we’re at it, let’s make sure the charity is aware of their impact beyond their mission and is able to confirm that there aren’t any negative side effects or repercussions.

For example, a common practice has been sending inexperienced volunteers to poverty-stricken areas in an attempt to provide aid and education.

The intention is altruistic, yet oftentimes there are cultural adjustments and learning curves. As a result, volunteers are often hurting more than helping.

The alternative, and far more productive, is working with existing community leaders to provide tools and resources that will be valuable for them to implement and educate within their society. In return, we gain understanding, help our fellow humans and avoid conflict and anxiety attacks. We actually have an incredible episode of Good Work that talks about this exact setback.

Diversify

There is an unfair amount of causes out there that need, deserve, and aren’t getting support.

Disaster relief, reproductive rights, mental health, veteran support, LGBTQ rights, gun reform, environmental, animals, children, refugees and what about the whales?

The list is long and constantly growing. Whether it be international organizations or grassroots ones, we believe NGOs are valuable no matter how big or small.

Whether you switch it up monthly, annually or biannually, diversifying your donations is the best way to support the multiple causes you believe in.

At Down to Donate, we believe that micro-donations have the biggest impact. Think of it like pitching in for the keg. We all put in a little, and then our environmentally friendly cups seem to have a never-ending stream of booze.

Micro donations are another way to contribute to the multiple causes you support without going into debt.

For $8 a month you can donate one of our vetted non-profit partners or split a single donation between up to 3 different non-profits. Every month you can change it up, diversifying your dollars that are making a difference all over the damn place.

Basically, skip the research. We got you.

Are you a registers 501(3)c Looking to partner with us at Down To Donate? Click here!

Are you a donor that wants to suggest a cause? Perfect! Suggest a cause here!

8 Easy Socially Conscious Habits to Form

8 easy socially conscious habits to form
8 Easy Socially Conscious Habits to Form

At Down to Donate we throw around the word Slacktivist a lot. If you’re not familiar with its meaning or origin, it’s essentially 90% slacker and 10% activist. You may have even taken offense to the phrase before, considering it’s basically USA Today’s way of saying, “Quit Tweeting and start acting.”

A Slacktivist is the kind of person that’s probably posted a photo of a mountain with the words, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” plastered over it, but also doesn’t have the time to dedicate their life to volunteering with a nonprofit in a poverty-stricken country.

And yeah, we get it. So we’ve decided to reclaim its meaning and show the naysayers that we can have our cake and donate too.

So, let me ask you, do you turn the water off when you brush your teeth? Are you not crippled by toxic masculinity and proudly pull out your reusable bags at the grocery store? Are you politically aware and ask yourself how you can do more but *also* still be able to pay the bills?

We hear ya. We’d much rather have fun with our limited free time and unimpressive salaries (that tend to flat-line while the cost of living goes up), so we made a solid list of 8 Easy Socially Conscious Habits to Form for the slacktivist who wants to create positive change with little effort.

8 Easy Socially Conscious Habits to Form

Be That Trash Girl

https://www.cnn.com/2016/07/04/us/lauren-singer-zero-waste-blogger-plastic/index.html
Source

We’ve all seen her. Her name is Lauren Singer and she can fit all her trash from the whole year in a mason jar (and we’re not even talking a Costco-sized jar, it’s actually pretty small). She makes a conscious effort to minimize her waste and pays close attention to her consumption. Even Lauren says going Zero Waste Living doesn’t happen overnight, but we can for sure *start* now.

Consume less and save more money? We’re in.

Hold People Accountable

Don’t go around trolling people IRL, it probably won’t bode as well as it does on Twitter. But truth be told, some people honestly don’t know that they’re being a trash human, and if you’ve got a few seconds to educate them, do it. They’re probably itching for some insightful tips that help them help the planet.

Consider this to be Down to Donate’s Hippocratic Oath: ‘Tis your duty to drop knowledge on those who are unaware, unable, and ignorant.

Let it be heard!

Tell your pops that it doesn’t take five minutes to ‘warm up the tap water’. And why is your Grandma still recycling pizza boxes? Time to learn how to compost, Norma!

From our experience, these conversations aren’t always comfortable. The key to holding people accountable is the way you deliver it. Will they always be receptive? No way. We’ve been conditioned to think this way of living is normal. Start your conscious consumer crusade with a super gentle tone.

Practice Mindfulness

Our daily existence comes at a cost. And us Westerners often don’t see the impact it has on the environment or communities around the world.

We can’t always be there to police other people, nor should we have to, but we can start by calling ourselves out and practice being mindful. Every cause has an effect and oftentimes, it’s more than one.

Be mindful about the duration of your shower, water used while washing dishes, the food you eat, choosing transportation, where you shop – everything! Mindfulness is all about being self-aware, and that understandably takes time to develop. Starting with just one conscious act a day will absolutely make a big ol’ positive impact.

Skip Single-Use Plastics

Nothing is less sexy than some who is aware, yet straight up just doesn’t care.

Don’t believe me? I seriously considered breaking up with a guy because he would buy 24-packs of small water bottles for his house rather than reusable gallon jugs KNOWING that it has a harmful impact on the environment.

Petty? Maybe, but I like my men *~*WoKe*~*  

There’s cheap reusable stuff, bougie reusable stuff and custom reusable stuff. Either way, it’s all accessible reusable stuff.

Use it and don’t be like my ex. Or I’ll break up with you too.

Rinse Your Recycling

Just last year, China was buying up recyclables from western countries and giving us a serious out-of-sight-out-of-mind complex.

Those days are over, as it just doesn’t make sense to haul our un-rinsed recycling to the Middle Kingdom only to discover the worst… trash juice.

via GIPHY

Now that we’re stuck figuring out how to deal with our plastic consumption domestically, we can start by giving it a good wash so the good folks who filter through our plastics don’t have to come home smelling like a rotten mixture of America’s condiments. We love our mustard, but not when it’s mixed with yesterday’s watered-down latte.

Before you start scrubbing ketchup packets, be sure to check out this SUPER helpful NPR article about what is and what isn’t recyclable.

Feeling guilty for over-recycling? We did too. Live and learn, slacktivist. Live. And. Learn.

Volunteer

Volunteering isn’t always an option for everyone, we get it. But teamwork makes the dream work, so get your Top 8 together and turn your next chill session into something impactful.

We may or may not be guilty of drinking White Claws while doing a small neighborhood clean up. Just try not to get arrested.

Head to your local animal shelter and get some free therap- I mean… walk a dog.

The more of us that pitch in, the less work it is for everybody else. And if that isn’t a slacktivistic approach to making a difference then I don’t know what is.

Donate
http://visionlaunch.com/can-the-ocean-cleanup-project-rid-the-worlds-oceans-of-plastic/
Source

Boyan Slat is the boy genius from the Netherlands who invented The Ocean Cleanup, a machine that skims and cleans the first meter of the ocean to remove the floating plastics. Bonus: it’s completely charged by solar panels. I, in no way shape or form, have the brains that Boyan has, but I’ve sure as sh*t got $5 on it.

There are tons of issues that need support and that’s exactly why Down to Donate was created, so you can live your life while knowing that you’re always giving.

Sign up here and subscribe to donate $8 bucks a month, with the option to split that donation between 3 different nonprofits that totally need our help.

Spend Your Money Wisely

We’re all about treating ourselves. However, we’re also all about knowing where our money is going. We hold the buying power, and with every dollar we spend we have the opportunity to support companies who care about us and the planet, or companies who just want those Benjamins.

We’re as guilty as the next guy when it comes to putting our money into the hands of greedy conglomerates, but all it takes is a little bit of research to find out just what these companies do with your dollars.

For instance, is the companies mission a pipeline or renewable energy? Are they helping or hurting communities? Do they pay their employee’s livable wages?

In other words, are they ethical?

A Certified B Corporation is a for-profit business that not only holds itself to a high social and environmental standard, but they also make it their legal obligation to do so. Becoming a B Corporation is no easy task. However, the more consumers require companies to have sustainable practices, the more companies will follow suit and be socially responsible.

With over 2,000 companies that are certified in over 50 different countries, we have options to put our money where our values are.

Check the Certified B Corp Directory to find out which companies are making conscious efforts to be a force for good.

The Takeaway

Is this shift from constant consumer to conscious consumer going to be easy? Nope. We didn’t even listen to the “Water – Use it wisely” ads back in the ’90s, and now look what’s happening!

But now more than ever, the information is flowing and all of the dirty secrets corporations thought we’d never find out about them is as available as the plastic water bottles they told us not to worry about. We have the power and we can quite literally make or break our own futures.

Feeling overwhelmed? That’s a-okay. Share this with a friend and brainstorm together on how you can go from hopeless to hopeful with these 8 easy socially conscious habits.

Want to hear more about for-profit businesses making a social and environmental impact? Check out the Good Work Podcast to hear Monica, founder of Down to Donate, interview some change-makers who are paving the way for a greener, more sustainable planet.

GIVEAWAY: Over $300 Worth of Eco-Friendly Goods

GIVEAWAY: Over $300 Worth of Eco-Friendly Goods

You guys have been so good, you deserve to be rewarded. But not just any kind of reward, we’re talking hundreds of dollars worth of eco-friendly brands and brands that support nonprofits.

Why are we so eager to spoil you? Because we believe each purchase you make can do one of two things:

1.) It can impact the environment in a positive way

2.) It can impact the environment in a negative way.

We know you want your purchases to hold some positive power, but it’s possible you might not know where to start when it comes to supporting eco-friendly brands or brands that support nonprofits.

So we’ve partnered with some of the best ones out there to get you on your way to living a sustainable life that’s good for you, the planet, animals, and nonprofits.

One might say this is the best giveaway of all time.

So what do you have to do to enter? We’re glad you asked.

1.Go to our Instagram

2. Like the giveaway post. It’ll be our most recent post.

3. Follow @_downtodonate + at least one other account tagged in the picture.

4. Tag a friend in the comments below

Giveaway will be closed on 10/17/2019.

Now, if you really want to win you can follow one or more of the steps below to get more entries.

-Share our giveaway post on your IG stories and tag @_downtodonate (3 extra entries)

-Sign up for our newsletter (5 extra entries)

-Start your charity subscription service with Down to Donate (10 extra entries)

What’s included in the giveaway?

A gorgeous tote from Out of the Woods Bags, a pound of beans and a t-shirt from Dean’s Beans, two pairs of socks from BOLD Socks, beautifully scented toiletries from SoapBox Soaps, one seasonal issue of Womanly Mag, As many rolls of Who Gives a Crap TP as we can fit, two pairs of Voyce Threads socks, Etee reusable food wraps, $50 gift card from Gifts for Good, a Charity Charge T-Shirt and Koozies, a Down to Donate hat.

Good luck to each of you <3

Per Instagram rules, this promotion is in no way sponsored, administered, or associated with Instagram, Inc. By entering, entrants confirm that they are 13+ years of age, release Instagram of responsibility, and agree to Instagram’s terms of use.

The Down Diaries: Vol.1

Hey. Welcome. We’re stoked to have you.

It’s particularly cool that you’re here because this means you’re ready to do something. This means you’ve been looking for a solution on how to make donating to nonprofits easier, and it’s possible that we’re the answer.

That’s dope. But what you’re doing is much bigger than just that.

Sure, mindlessly donating is awesome. I mean, we mindlessly do lots of things; sing, tap, spend, eat, eat, and eat. So, adding social good to that list almost makes you some kind of superhuman. As if you’re… unstoppable.

Okay. Let’s not get carried away.

This kind of thing we’re doing, Down to Donate, only works if we’re all in it together. Sure, you can boast over drinks about how you just signed up for this cool, new service that’s founded by two incredibly charming and talented young ladies, but what difference does that make if the person you’re telling that undeniably wonderful news to doesn’t care?

Well, here’s where you step in. It’s now your job to make them care.

If you’re anything like us, you’d sprinkle a couple facts on ‘em. Something like:

Bet ya didn’t know the majority of all donations in the U.S. are made by individuals, and around $400 billion are donated every year.

Or

Did you know a nonprofit’s support base is made up less than 10% of recurring donations? Don’t you have, like, eight different subscription services already?

We’re a little sassy, so feel free to add your own friendly twang when it comes to spreading the word.

Today, this is the most information we’ve ever had available to us. And in the fastest amount of time. Tomorrow will out-do today. And the day after that will out-do tomorrow.

It’s our responsibility to educate the people about issues that both, directly and indirectly, affect us. This doesn’t have to be a political thing. It doesn’t have to be a look-at-me-I-donate-to-charities kind of thing either. Although, we think the whole being-humble-about-giving-back thing is kind of dated.

It does, however, have to be about being aware. But more importantly, doing something, even the smallest action based on that awareness.

You know what our goals are, and they’re honestly not that outlandish. We just need a few good people who are passionate about equality in order for this platform to work.

We’re pumped for what’s next. Keep on signing up.

Monica Weintraub
Founder/CEO/Slacktivist