Seven Things Your Nonprofit Organization Needs to Be Doing #charity #justice

Yesterday was #givingtuesday and rightly so, after we've spent our bundles on new appliances for the rental and a few needed items for our cold-weather wardrobes and a little extra food to feed hungry guests. Those are all good things, but we don't want to forget the joy that comes from giving generously.

There has been talk lately about "white saviors" and the idea that volunteering can do more harm than good. As with other things in life, our giving needs to be done with intention and great care. I've posted on my blog before about helping that hurts and about my two favorite non-profit organizations. In this post, I want to clearly outline what I believe makes a charity worth supporting.

Nonprofit Organizations

They Are Transparent and Share Anecdotal Stories and Updates
I love a nonprofit that updates their Facebook page with photos and stories and posts regularly on their blog. The little details tells me that the work they are doing is happening in real-time and shows how it is making an impact.

They Don't Make a Habit of Inviting Short Term Volunteers
An organization that only brings in volunteers who will really benefit the project in a particular way and that takes care to protect the emotional stability of the people group they are working with -- this is good.

They Don't Allocate a Large Portion of Donations to Fundraising
I love email newsletters and email donation receipts and other FREE ways of connecting with partners. It is really pretty awesome that some smaller nonprofits can send 100% of donations straight to the project, without taking a portion for advertising or thousands of stamped envelopes.

They Keep Things Local
When it comes time to buy construction materials or food for the orphans, buying local helps to stimulate that developing county's economy! This makes a lot more sense if we're getting involved with a project because we want to see the entire community pull themselves out of poverty.

Nonprofit Organizations

They Keep Families Together
If parents exist and living with them would be a positive thing, let's try to make that happen. In too many situations, children are living in orphanages because their parents couldn't afford to keep them home. Bring Love In focuses specifically on empowering families in their Keep One Home project. New Reality International works with local social workers to be sure children aren't living in the Children's Village if a positive family home environment is available to them.

They Assume that Local Leaders Know Best
We must not think so highly of ourselves and our solutions that we step right over what may have been a help and provide a grandiose building or plan that won't be used or appreciated in the end. We want organizations who will enter a developing country with humility, patience and a listening ear, ready to help in the ways that will work best for that specific cultural context.

They Go Back
Organizations don't very often meet the needs of a developing country in just one visit. Long-term relationships where trust is forged and genuine needs are understood make for real improvements and lasting change. Bring Love In works just down the street from the families they support. The Benkert family lives in Ethiopia and they know what the true needs are and how to best meet those needs. New Reality International partners with local leaders who take care of details with cultural sensitivity. Volunteer staff members return to the #Project7 land in Haiti regularly to meet with the local committee and oversee construction workers and familiarize themselves with the people and the needs.

Nonprofit Organizations

I've mentioned two of the organizations I support -- Bring Love In and New Reality International. Both are doing their best to help without hurting. Bring Love In just finished raising funds to buy a larger, more reliable school bus. New Reality International is hoping to buy church clothes for all the children this Christmas. You can get involved -- check out their websites!