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Ten Tips For Evaluating Nonprofits

Clients should ask these questions before making a donation.

Donating to charity is an act of faith in the possibility of a better world—that’s why every dollar counts. And with the holiday giving season here, your clients may be receiving more requests from nonprofits and starting to think about the causes they want to support. According to the National Center for Charitable Statistics, the United States is home to more than 1.5 million nonprofit organizations. With so many to choose from, how do you help a client decide which ones to support?

By researching before donating, your client will gain valuable insight and experience. And with time, they’ll acquire the skills to determine when their donations aren’t just gifts, but investments in progress.

If you and your client aren’t finding the information you need, contact the nonprofit. And if you’re contemplating a sizeable gift or ongoing commitment to the organization, this warrants additional due diligence to ensure your client’s giving creates the desired impact.

Whether they’re researching organizations or already have some in mind, here are 10 key questions to ask as your client evaluates a nonprofit:


Gillian Howell is Head of Client Advisory Solutions for Foundation Source, which provides comprehensive support services for private foundations. The firm works in partnership with financial and legal advisors as well as directly with individuals and families.


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