This time of year, many Americans begin to think about giving back. As the holiday season approaches, various charitable organizations and groups start soliciting donations. Given the staggering number of nonprofits and charities, it can be difficult to choose the right place to support.

Several factors can help you make a meaningful contribution to a charitable organization. Here are a few tips for making a successful and meaningful donation.

Align Your Values with a Cause

One of the most important factors that donors should consider when it comes to making a meaningful contribution to a charitable organization is the alignment with their own interests and values. According to Una Osili, a professor of philanthropy at Indiana University, this will help them make a deeper connection with the organization they support. Deeper connections can lead to sustained engagement.

Decide Between Helping Locally or Globally

Deciding between helping locally or globally can be a difficult decision. Many donors want to make a difference in the world but feel guilty due to the help that’s often needed right in their own backyards.

Some people prefer to support local organizations as they believe their donations will have a greater impact. Others are passionate about global issues such as climate change, world hunger, and women’s rights. Regardless of the cause, make sure that you find something that you feel is important. Decide whether to get involved locally or internationally so you can better navigate all the nonprofits that need help.

Vet the Charities!

Before you make a financial contribution to a charity, make sure that it uses your money wisely. There are a variety of organizations that monitor the financial health of various charities. Some of these websites provide quantitative assessments of a charity’s performance. Sites such as,, and are excellent resources. These sites can help you make an informed decision regarding supporting a particular organization.

Consider Volunteering Instead of Donating

Even if you have a hard time making a financial contribution at the end of the year, there are still ways that you can support a cause. One of these ways is volunteering. This can be an option for local charities that don’t have the overhead to support their day-to-day operations.

If you have time, consider volunteering through This website can help you find a local organization you can support on a date that’s right for you.

Furthermore, if you have professional skills, such as accounting or graphic design, there may be an organization that could use your abilities. is a platform that matches people with organizations that need specific types of support and assistance on the ground.