Negative stories in the press about how donations are sometimes used for company overheads may have distorted our views of the charitable sector.
But American entrepreneur and activist Dan Pallotta puts the record straight in his TED Talk, explaining that spending on costs such as marketing and fundraising is necessary to help not-for-profit organisations grow.
This spending ensures that, in the long-term, more money and resources will go to an even greater number of those who need them most.
Pallotta states: “The next time you’re looking at a charity ... ask about the scale of their dreams, their Apple-, Google-, Amazon-scale dreams. Who cares what the overhead is if these problems are actually getting solved?”
To give you confidence that your money is being used effectively, here are five questions you may want to research before you give to a charity:
- Has the charity clearly and accurately communicated the problem it wants to solve and the metrics it’s working towards to solve it?
- Does the charity have a focused strategic plan (sometimes referred to as a ‘theory of change’)?
- How effectively does the charity operate, and what partnerships is it involved with?
- What progress has the charity made towards its goal? It can be particularly powerful to read testimonials from charity advocates to help inform your decision.
- Is the charity aiming for growth, or planning for a future once the problem is solved?
Another helpful resource is Charity Navigator, which rates charities around the world according to a specific criteria.
At Elanco, we work with charities that focus on the causes we care about most – food security and animal companionship. Our two chosen charities work closely in these areas; Heifer International helps empower those living in poverty by providing livestock and training, while Pet Partners is setting the standard in animal-assisted therapy.
These organisations are striving for long-term, systematic change in these spaces.
Working together, we can reach more people, more profoundly and amplify our impact. This season, if you choose to donate to charity, we hope you feel confident picking the right outlet for your passion, knowing that wherever your time or money goes, it will be helping those who need it most.