The holiday season is a joyous time for many, but not for all. Many organizations and nonprofits are always looking for additional resources or monetary donations to stay running. If you are in the market to donate this year, follow these tips to ensure that your gift makes the impact you want.

Research, Research, Research

This point cannot be stressed enough. Start by researching the types of causes that you want to help. If you are interested in helping animals in need, consider looking into the World Wildlife Fund. The WWF helps conserves animal habitats and endangered species. If you are more interested in helping children around the world obtain their education, then you might want to look into Pencils of Promise. Find an organization that makes an impact that aligns with your goals.

Once you find an organization, the next step would be to research it. If you don’t know where to look, go to their website or do a simple search online. Read up on how they have helped communities through the press. Otherwise, look for articles online explicitly saying how they have impacted the industry they are helping. Don’t donate without doing your research.

The last thing that you want to do is evaluate their finances. You want to review how much of the donations are being used for their intended cause versus the amount being spent on advertising or salaries. Find an organization that makes the most impact for your contribution. If you are in a rush and unable to page through a company’s annual financial report, use CharityWatch, an online website that reports how efficient an organization is with their donations.

Ask For Recommendations

If you are looking to donate within your community, seek advice from trusted family members and friends. They can share their experiences or viewpoints on local organizations. If there is a very specific or niche target you want to donate to, get insight from community professionals. For example, ask your doctor for organizations they would recommend for specific disorders or diseases. When you get multiple viewpoints, you can make an informed decision easier.

Donate Items Or Time

While donating money will help keep the organization’s doors open, remember that you can also give goods or your time. There are many elements to ensuring that a cause stays open. For example, cleaning supplies, and office supplies are always needed. Many organizations need help distributing their resources to the community or organizing their business. Donating your time is crucial and easy to do. The less the organization has to spend on items or paying a wage, the better they can help their community.

Any organization that you donate your money, resources or time to will be grateful. Don’t sell yourself short if your budget is “too small,” or you feel you could have done more. The holiday season is a time for giving and you have made an enormous impact already.