Tip 1: Consider your own desires. There are any number of charities that serve any number of worthy causes. Will you give a donation to your local religious organization, your alma matter, a charity that aids in medical research, an international organization that assists children in developing nations, or a combination of groups? The available choices are endless. If you’re having difficulty, it’s best to sit down and come up with a list of causes or organizations that you feel are most important to you. Once you have the list, you can choose which charities to focus on.
Tip 2: Research the organization. Many, if not most, charities and non-profit organizations are honestly run and operated, working to ensure donations go to those people or causes that they serve. Others, however, can be less well run, while a few may be downright dishonest. For example, musician Kanye West’s now defunct charitable foundation reported that in 2010 it had $572,383 in expenses, while giving out $0 in grants gifts or contributions. Charity Navigator, a nonprofit charity watchdog group, states that a charity should have no more than 15 percent of its cash flow dedicated to expenses and overhead.
Tip 3: Consider your own charity. If you want to have even more control over how your estate gift is used, you can also start your own charitable foundation or charitable trust. A trust is a good choice if you want your gift to have a long-lasting impact or if you think there is a significant charitable issue that is being underserved.