• Lulwa NAMAN

Need Help Choosing a Charity?

Sometimes it can be hard finding a charity you would like to devote time, effort and donations to support. Multiple factors play into the decision such as the cause, legitimacy of the organisation and more. Whether you would like to support a nonprofit in your free time, or are simply looking for a Service Action/CAS project, it is necessary to designate a purpose you are ready to fully commit to.


First and foremost, you must dig down deep into your heart and brainstorm what matters to you. Using a list to note down the causes you are most passionate about is beneficial to organise your thoughts. These can include big ideas such as gender equality, famine, or education. This list would act like a wave of clarity that filters which subjects to bring back in (the ones that mean a great deal to you). One of these ideas can be chosen or multiple could be merged into one big idea (i.e., Underprivileged Women and Children).


Once an overarching concept has been chosen, research should be conducted to determine a location in which there is a need for the cause to be addressed. It may be specific to one or two countries, or possibly an issue worldwide. Additional factors can play a role in this step such as where you come from and historical background importance. On the other hand, it can be a chance for exploration into a new culture or aspect of humanity for others. Coming back to our example, we can take the idea of supporting Underprivileged Women and Children and choose to focus on Women and Children in Zambia.


Sometimes it can be necessary to pin the idea down to one specific subset of the issue. Particularly in cases where the cause is due to poverty, the facility or service for which financial support is needed should be clarified. For example, education for Underprivileged Women and Children in Zambia. This brings the process one step closer to the final choice.


Having decided upon the general cause, location, and specific need, it should be easy and simple to compose a list of possibilities using Google. The list may be short or long depending on the number of foundations and charities available to address the cause. Nonetheless, it is key to make as long of a list as is available. At this stage, it is crucial to research whether the charity chosen accepts payments from the country of the donor, as certain payment methods are accessible in a limited number of countries (PayPal, Stripe, etc.)


The next step, ensuring the trustworthiness of the organisation, is an elimination round where a number of charities from the list created will be removed. At times, the proceeds given are not exclusively distributed or used for the sake of the cause. Fraud charities emerge typically during the period of time directly after a disaster or crisis begins. Warning signs include a request for payment by cash or gift card or personal information such as your social security number. Even when charities appear trustworthy on social media, they still may be a scam. This step in the process is not to discourage you from donating to smaller organisations which do not have the admiration that the UN, Red Cross, and others do, but instead to ensure these charities are legitimate and will uphold their promises. The Mwazwe Foundation is an example of a new nonprofit organisation based in Zambia supporting underprivileged women and children which is reliable (an upcoming club at Nations you may want to sign up for!). From there, you can take your pick in which charity to support, and it would be best to consult a group if working with others to come to a unanimous decision.


There are innumerable ways to raise money in your community for the cause chosen. For larger scale operations, I would recommend forming a group of dedicated volunteers at school to brainstorm fundraising ideas and raise awareness within the student body and teachers. In the past, we have seen raffles, coin jar competitions and concerts. If the organisation you choose has other options of donations such as clothing and school supplies, setting up a box for collection could be a great solution. If starting a student-led initiative is not your dream, you may give one-off, monthly or annual donations to the charity instead.


Whatever you choose, it must come from a good place in your heart to take it above and beyond. Try your hardest to focus on devoting your time to the cause and not just to meet the SA/CAS requirements!

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Lulwa Naman