- Do you have a strategic plan?
- Do you have 100% board giving?
- What are your outcomes? Where’s your impact?
This got me thinking about whether I had asked these before about the organizations I have donated to. I haven’t ever asked if a nonprofit has a strategic plan before donating – while strategic plans can be great, they usually are dead documents that end up in drawers and are rarely public. I also don’t usually ask if 100% of the board donates – not because that isn’t important, but because I’d rather know if 100% of the board volunteers. While money is important – time is more valuable and can usually be a better indicator of whether board members truly care about the organization. Honestly, #3 is likely the only thing I actually ask about nonprofits I donate to. Maybe it’s my evaluation background, but I want to know about their impact and how specifically they are doing the work. The above three questions were suggested by a foundation president, which isn’t surprising because foundations are much more likely to ask these.
I’d say my three questions are:
- What exactly does the organization do – and do they do it the best?
- How much of my money actually goes towards the mission (is it some multi-level ginormous nonprofit with a small program-expense ratio?)?
- What relationship do I have with the organization?
#3 is mainly because I always support the organizations I volunteer with or serve on the board of because those are usually the organizations I feel most passionate about. I think there is definitely a disconnect between what people feel they should be asking compared with what they really want to know. What questions do you ask when choosing what organization to donate to?
Photo credit: Marynbtol