Effective Giving – 100 Men YEG

December 11, 2014

In addition to creating a simple yet impactful fundraising group, it appears we’re also quite good at getting people all fired up (which, we must admit, has been a bit of a surprise). One of our members tweeted a reference to last week’s blog containing 5 key questions on charitable giving effectiveness. That tweet received, shall we say, some notice. Not one to shy away from a discussion on how to make charitable giving better, this week we’ve opened our blog up to a guest writer with another opinion on how to measure charitable giving effectiveness.

As The Savvy Do Gooder, Nadine Riopel (@philanthusiast) blogs about – you guessed it – how to do good. In addition to a previous life as a charitable campaign manager, Nadine has appeared on BT Edmonton and Alberta Primetime and wrote the book The Savvy Do Gooder: Giving that Makes a Difference.

My Favourite Tools for Effective Giving – Submitted by Nadine Riopel

A recent post on this blog, “Give Back” really got my goat. Not that the advice it offered for strategic holiday giving was bad; I’ve given similar tips myself in the past

What fired me up was that my dear friend Cary Williams advertised it on Facebook as being about effective giving. To a writer and speaker on the subject of making a difference, it was like a red flag to a bull. I immediately fired off a message to Cary, pointing out that the post wasn’t about effectiveness at all. His response was a simple challenge: Do better.

Challenge accepted! Here goes:

There are some great tools for figuring out whether a charitable organization will deliver on the hopes and dreams that motivate you to give in the first place. That is the true measure of effectiveness: is our giving of time or money making the difference we want it to. To find this out, we need to ask good questions about the people we’re entrusting with our money, and about what they intend to do with it.

My favourite tool is a simple, easy to use set of key questions. The Charting Impact 5 Questions were developed as a simple framework for charities to communicate their value to donors. They are:

  1. What is your organization aiming to accomplish?
  2. What are your strategies for making this happen?
  3. What are your organization’s capabilities for making this happen?
  4. How will you know if your organization is making progress?
  5. What have and haven’t you accomplished so far?

As you consider giving to charity, you can use these questions to inform your research into any organization. Keep them in mind while reviewing the organization’s website and other materials, or simply send them the questions. Copy and paste right from this post into an email, if you want. If you like, you can also send them the resource guide for answering effectively.

Their answers should give you a great snapshot of what’s really important about their work, and a good idea of whether they’re a fit for you. There’s no need to spend more than an hour or so on this. The 5 Questions should make it possible to get all the info you need in a relatively short time.

The “Give Back” post offered a few resources at the end but again, they were not about effectiveness. They were places where you could find out about giving and volunteer opportunities. So I’m going to fire back with a couple of my own, that might prove more helpful in your quest for effectiveness:

Place2Give: a Canadian giving site that uses a simple survey to help narrow down the charity options to find a fit for you. It’s like the eHarmony of charitable giving

Charity Intelligence Canada: a charity evaluator that offers ratings and research on a wide variety of Canadian charities

One point I do agree with in the “Give Back” post was this: let us know how it’s going. By sharing our giving experiences and learning from each other, we can all become more powerful forces for good.

Nadine Riopel