Philanthropy A to Z | How to Decide Who to Donate To After a Death

Philanthropy-A-to-Z--How-to-Decide-Who-to-Donate-To-After-a-Death9-19You’ve made the courageous decision to donate a portion of your loved one’s assets to a non-profit but now you need to figure out who should receive your generous donation. There are many organization worthy of your donation, so we’ve come up with a couple of ways to help you with this decision.

To start the process, we suggest that you put together a short list of non-profit organizations that would be a good fit for you and your family. To aid you in making that list, we have an abbreviated inventory of options with a brief description of the purpose of the organization. Below you will find many different organizations that may be just the right fit for you.

Options for Philanthropic Giving

Alzheimer’s Association
Provides education and support to people with Alzheimer’s disease, their families and to caregivers.

American Cancer Society
Dedicated to preventing cancer, saving lives, and diminishing suffering from cancer, through research, education, advocacy, and service.

American Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Institute
Dedicated to the prevention of sudden infant death and the promotion of infant health.

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Association
Dedicated to the fight against ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Camp Heartland
For children impacted by HIV/AIDS.

Make-A-Wish Foundation
For children with life-threatening illnesses.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD)
Focuses on drunk driving and underage drinking problems, and offers support for people grieving the death of a loved one caused by drunk driving.

Salvation Army National Headquarters
Dedicated to the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ and alleviating human suffering and distress without discrimination.

Didn’t find an organization that fits for your purpose? Click here for a full list.

Finding the Right One For You

Once you’ve narrowed down your options, now it’s time for the research. It’s important to ask certain questions of the non-profit and yourself to find the right organization to give to.

What would the deceased have wanted?
Most likely, if you’re reading this article, the deceased did not make their wishes known, so you have to do your best to figure this question out. Did your loved one have a favorite hobby, sports team or cause that you could donate to? If they had always wanted to go to Africa to work with orphans, you could donate to a cause that does that type of work in Africa. Did they suffer from a disease or ailment where you can give to fund research for a cure? If your loved one lost some of their eyesight and benefited from tools that helped them read, you could donate to an organization that makes those tools. These are just a few examples to help you think of what the deceased would have wanted as part of their legacy giving.

Does the organization do local, national or international work?
For some, this may be very important to have an organization that does local work affecting people close to your community and home. For others, it’ll be important to give to an organization that does international work to aid in making the world a better place. The question is just a starting point to think intentionally about where this money is given.

Does the organization have a good reputation for utilizing the donations it receives in a financially responsible way?
One of the most important things to do is to look at whether the organization is legitimate. One easy way to do this is to go to the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance to do some research. Here you can look up different non-profit organizations, browse a list of national charities and they even have a guide on basic giving. Websites like Charity Navigator and GuideStar are also great resources to help to learn about the validity of different organizations. The important thing is to do your due diligence, looking at the organization of your choosing to ensure that they are utilizing the funds received as your loved one would have intended.

While these lists aren’t comprehensive, it’s a great start to get you thinking about how your loved one’s legacy can live on through their assets. If you have questions about how to give to charity in other ways, make sure to follow our news blog as we will be answering that question in a few weeks. Do you have additional ideas on great organizations to give to? Let us know on our Facebook page!