When you get involved in a nonprofit organization you want your contribution to have the greatest impact possible. We have collected some good advice and things to consider when you want to make a donation.
1. Check whether the organization is ok
If you are called or contacted on the street – listen, question, and then go home and inspect the organization in peace and quiet before you decide. Many organizations have similar names, so start by checking that it really is the organization you think. If everything seems right for you - get involved.
2. What does the organization want to accomplish and how?
Ask questions! It is especially important if it is an organization that you are not already familiar with asking for your support. How will your donation be used? How many people were helped last year? In what way? How do they work on their projects? If the organization is unable to clearly explain what they do, it is possible that they do not manage their projects in a focused manner. In that case you should find another organization to support. There are plenty of organizations that are clear and well structured.
3. What have they actually achieved?
It is not enough to care - an organization must also be able to share their findings and completed projects. What have they been able to implement? Have they achieved their goals? If the organization lacks clear objectives it is impossible to measure how successful they are. A good organization knows what they are working for today and tomorrow - and likes to talk about it.
4. Opt for safe choices when there is a quick time frame
If you want to make a donation fast, as is often the case during disaster response and relief, there may not be time to do your own search. It may be best to choose a well-known organization that is involved in the current disaster. Make your donation directly to the organization, such as via internet or text message.
5. Avoid middlemen
Many organizations use professional telemarketing firms to raise money. These usually take part of the money you donate as commission. If you are not comfortable with that you can listen and ask questions and if you want support the organization after, contact it directly to make a contribution. This results in more of your money going directly to support the organization's mission.
6. Administrative expenses
Many who donate choose an organization with low administrative costs. This information is provided under the link ”Finance” in the organization description. Just be aware that different missions require different levels of management and that smaller organizations often have a disadvantage in these comparisons because the key figures are percentages. Looking solely at administrative expenses is often not the best measure of performance.
7. What does it mean that an organization has a 90 account?
Swedish Collection Control (SFI) has a mandate to review nonprofit organizations. The Foundation's principals are LO, SACO, TCO, Swedish Enterprise and FAR SRS. To get a 90-account, an organization must meet SFI's accounting requirements. The review covers all operations, but requires that at least 75% of the organization's revenues go to the mission. If the organization's fundraising and administrative expenses exceed 25% of its revenues three years in a row, SFI withdraws the collection account. More information about SFI and 90-accounts can be found on the SFI website.
8. What does it mean that the organization is a member of FRII?
FRII is the fundraising organizations' trade association with about 115 of the major organizations as members. FRII promotes ethical and professional collection. Among other things, they have developed an accounting standard and norm (kvalitetskod) for fundraising organizations. More information can be found on FRII's homepage.