A Donor’s Guide for Charitable Impact

Nonprofit organizations and donors are the world’s champions in advancing humanitarian and social justice causes. You, our donors, fuel the Atlanta Women’s Foundation, and we are grateful for how you support our mission!

As a donor, you know what it feels like to be fueled by a passion for advancing equality, and you want to make a difference in this world wherever you can. But how can donors approach the art of giving to be more purposeful? If you want to amplify your giving efforts, here’s a guide to making the most of your donations.

The Power of Focus when Giving 

Sometimes, donors spread out their resources between many different types of nonprofit organizations that focus on different causes. Although charitable giving of any sort is impactful, this way of charitable giving can actually cause a donor to lose focus on the issues that they care most about. 

Let’s take into consideration that there are about 1.5 million nonprofit organizations operating in the United States alone. We know that there are almost limitless opportunities to give to a nonprofit. Focusing on just a few nonprofits helps you make more actionable goals that are achievable in the long run. What would you like to see your nonprofits achieve? These are helpful questions to ask when you are thinking of donating to nonprofits.

The Atlanta Women’s Foundation was created to identify the gender gap that existed within nonprofits. We are the only Foundation in Georgia dedicated solely to changing the lives of women and girls. While we do not serve women and girls directly, our proven collective impact model ensures the dollars we raise and the awareness we cultivate amplify local, grassroots nonprofits’ impact across the Metro Atlanta community. 

When you support AWF throughout your donor journey, you can rest assured that your dollars will go further to benefit even more women and girls.

Dedicate Research Into Your Nonprofits

In order to make the best decision when selecting nonprofits to commit to (out of so many), you want to research these organizations to gain an idea of who they are.  What a nonprofit does, what they represent, and why it matters is important… This way, the cause you are dedicated to becomes much more personal. After all, these are the leaders who are launching the cause, and as a donor, you too are part of the team —  it’s a collective journey involving many stakeholders.  Here are some things to pay special attention to:

  • Mission Statement: What does their mission statement say? Does their mission statement resonate with you at a deep and personal level? Sometimes, you can even tell how far advanced a nonprofit is by its mission statement. A good mission statement is clear in its goals and the groups of people that they intend to serve.
  • Upcoming Events: Are there any upcoming events that you can get involved with? Whether it’s a volunteer activity, a group luncheon, or an educational event raising awareness about an issue, your ability to make a charitable contribution is connected to the type of opportunities that are presented to you.  AWF’s next event is The Numbers Too Big To Ignore Luncheon!  It is through mission-oriented events that AWF is able to improve the lives of women and girls in the Atlanta region.
  • Board of Members & Staff:  Get to know the board of members and staff. You’ll gain insight into their leadership. It’s an important reminder that an organization is represented by its people.

Invite Others & Consider Group Giving

One of the greatest ways of doubling your impact while making it fun and social is to consider group giving. If you’re excited about the cause, it’s likely that your friends and family members will be excited about it too. Here are some ways to initiate group giving:

  • Crowdfunding: You can start a crowdfunding platform and invite those whom you know to donate to the cause. Write an introduction on why you started the campaign, why it matters to you, and how you came to learn about the organization.
  • Company matching donation programs. Many companies even offer a matching donation program so that whatever you donate, they’ll match it too. See if your company offers this program, and if not, you can always raise the question of whether they’d be open to starting one.
  • Social event: Spice up your giving by having it take place in a fun social setting. You can host a group dinner or other event and bring a donation box. It’s an opportunity for engaging conversations and fun, all the while supporting the cause you care about and getting others involved.
  • Learn more ways to make an impact here.

Commit Long-term for Long-term Impact

It’s common to give once and forget about future nonprofit donations, but this can cause the values you care about to fade over time. Keep those values fresh in your heart by committing long-term. Stay up to date on the activities that your nonprofit is doing, along with how you can contribute to their cause. Holidays can be the most attention-grabbing time of year for nonprofit donations but for dedicated donors, the season of giving occurs year-round.

It’s easy to overestimate how much impact we can make in a few months compared to the impact we can make in a few years — it’s crucial to maintain consistency. Having a calendar outline can help you organize your nonprofit donation goals. What goals or tasks do you want to achieve at the 3-month or 6-month mark? 

It’s easy to forget or lose track of your involvement with a nonprofit, but by committing long-term and tracking your contributions, you can’t help but feel a sense of pride that you are making a big difference after all. 
Monthly giving is a great and easy way to support nonprofits long-term. With AWF, your monthly giving can even make you eligible for our Catalyst Society Membership. Catalyst Society Members play a significant role in our strategic grantmaking initiatives because their funds help us transition women in poverty to economic self-sufficiency.

Verify the Non-Profit Before You Invest 

Unfortunately, not all nonprofit organizations are reputable. In this digital age and the age of automation, it is far too easy for someone to design and host a website and integrate a payment processing feature into it to collect funds. Scams in nonprofit donations do occur; hence, it’s essential to exercise caution when you encounter requests for donations online — especially if it’s coming from a company you don’t know about. 

Nonprofit fraud schemers can even impersonate other nonprofits to siphon funds from established nonprofits into their own bank accounts. Knowing that fraud does exist is the first step to making the most out of your charitable giving so that the funds go to those organizations it intended to reach. You can also use non-partial sites for nonprofit assessment, like Charity Navigator, to get a look into the nonprofit’s accountability. 

We at The Atlanta Women’s Foundation understand the trust that donors, grantees, and other members of the public expect from nonprofits. This is precisely why we adhere to the highest ethical and financial standards. Our commitment to ethical standards as a nonprofit operating in the U.S. has allowed us to achieve GuideStar’s Platinum Seal of Transparency. You can view our financial reports here.

Know What the Most Popular Nonprofits Are

Some nonprofits are more popular than others, and they tend to have a large following of donors and receive numerous charitable donations. Some of the most popular nonprofits focus on animal welfare, disease awareness, the environment, and higher education.

Other nonprofits can get sidelined because the cause they are working on does not receive enough awareness. This is especially true for those focusing on improving their communities and making a local impact. If you want to amplify your donation efforts, consider donating to a nonprofit focused on addressing an issue many other nonprofits don’t cover. 

There are many nonprofits out there, but did you know that philanthropic donations dedicated to improving the lives of women and girls represent only 2% of all donations in the United States? This is precisely the reason why The Atlanta Women’s Foundation was founded. We are passionate about equipping underserved women and girls with the resources they need to live in a more equitable society. 

You can help us empower women and girls by making a difference here.