Wanna help support important orgs, but overwhelmed or unsure where to start? I worked in the non-profit world for 7 years & learned a lot. Here are some tips on how to help:
  1. Remember that even small one-time donation can make a huge difference
    Only have $10 to give right now? That's awesome! It really all adds up, & you don't need to be a continuing donor if you can't swing it. What you have to offer is enough.
  2. If you give to a large org, you usually have the option of giving to a specific campaign/task they're working on, or you'll have the choice to give at-large
    ...which means that your donation could be allocated to wherever the org most needs funds. I typically prefer this option. Often, orgs get big PR or large donors for only some of their good works, but not all. Giving at-large not only helps continue ALL the good work that the org is doing, but can also help keep the jobs/work for the few people allocated to the smaller, less-flashy business they're working on
  3. Some large non-profits have centralized offices that handle the national-level campaigns/works, and they also have local chapters that work on local issues
    Big examples of this: American Red Cross or Sierra Club. You can go to the main website for the group of your choice & donate at the top end, or look on that same site for your region to donate funds used for the group's more local works. Neither option is better than the other, it's just a matter of preference
  4. Think about going local
    I think it's important to give to both large (national/global scale) & small (local) organizations. Go to Google and search "non profit + (your zip code or nearest city)". You will typically find a slew of groups that do small-scale work important & specific to your community. Local food banks, arts organizations (for schools that don't have those programs), shelters, or groups supporting foster kids are just a few examples
  5. Unsure if the org you want to support really uses your donations for good works & not salaries for their directors?
    You can check out the finances of many non-profits on www.charitynavigator.org - which is in itself a non-profit that accepts donations! It's a quick site that rates groups on how well they disperse donor funds. [Separately, it's not a bad thing if your donation goes to to an org's infrastructure, provided the group is sound & getting shit done - you literally are helping to pay the salaries of people who do these important works.]
  6. You can gift memberships or make donations in people's names
    As many listers before me have pointed out, this is a great way to stick it to someone with whom you have major political/ideological differences. Or Secret Santa gifts!
  7. Don't have money or prefer something more tangible? If you've got time or gently used stuff, you can help!
    EVERY org is always looking for more volunteers - it's a matter of contacting a local group or chapter (email or phone) & just asking what they need. Also, it's never a bad time to comb through your home for unused clothes/housewares/toys/media & make donations