Choosing a charity
The essence of strategic giving : a practical guide for donors and fundraisers
Peter Frumkin.
Chicago : University of Chicago Press, 2010.
In the face of global financial problems and stressed government budgets, the ability of private philanthropy to step in and help solve public problems—and support vital private institutions as well—has perhaps never been more important. But how can donors be sure their contributions will be effective? And how can fundraisers make their case for support in a way that is compelling and productive? WithThe Essence of Strategic Giving, Peter Frumkin distills the lessons of his comprehensive, award-winning study,Strategic Giving, into a concise, practical guide for everyone involved in private philanthropy, from donors to managers of nonprofits to fund-raisers. He defines five critical challenges that all donors must address if their philanthropy is to amount to more than indiscriminate charity, including being aware of the time frame that guides a gift, specifying the intended impact being pursued, and  recognizing how a donation fits with a donor’s own identity and style. Acknowledging and understanding these fundamental, strategic aspects of giving, Frumkin argues, will help ensure philanthropy that more effectively achieves its aims—and at the same time builds a lasting relationship between donors and the institutions they support. As the next generation of donors wrestle with the challenge of effectively distributing what Andrew Carnegie called “surplus wealth,” Frumkin’s road map will be an indispensible resource for years to come.
America's Medicis : the Rockefellers and their astonishing cultural legacy
Suzanne Loebl.
New York : Harper, 2010.
Based on information gathered from the family's archives, this book traces the Rockefellers' artistic philanthropies from their beginnings to today. 

Annotation by: St. Louis Public Library staff.

How to be an everyday philanthropist : 330 ways to make a difference in your home, community, and world--at no cost
by Nicole Bouchard Boles.
New York : Workman Pub., c2009.
The difference between wanting to make the world a better place and actually helping it is in the doing. This simple book outlines numerous basic steps and ideas, none of which require a financial investment, addressing how individuals can make a positive contribution to their world. The author offers suggestions for actions, behaviors, and involvement with a variety of non-profit organizations that can produce positive impacts for individuals and their surrounding communities. Annotation c2010 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
Do your giving while you are living : inspirational lessons on what you can do today to make a difference tomorrow
Edie Fraser and Robyn Spizman.
Garden City, NY : Morgan James Publishing, c2009.
Do Your Giving While You Are Living is an illuminating little book with a very big--and very timely--message. It inspires readers to embrace giving and to understand that the highest purpose in life is quite simple: doing for others. Featuring contributions from some of the most influential and philanthropic people and organizations in the world today, this book shows readers how the act of giving can change the world and also change their own lives in ways they never thought possible. Do Your Giving While You Are Living offers food for thought in bite-sized bits. Each entry includes a quote, a brief first-person story of how one of the book's contributors--from leading-edge thinkers to hometown heroes--made a difference, and an action step readers can put to use in their lives. The vignettes are as moving as they are enlightening, teaching readers the power of giving and demonstrating specific ways how that power can be put into action, no matter what age or station in life.

Donating to a charity is a selfless act that helps those in need.  It can make you feel good about what you have done to support others. There are plenty of ways to give -- be it money, personal items like clothes, or your time.

It's not easy to choose a charity. Pick one that is close to your heart. For example, if a close relative battled heart disease or good friend survived breast cancer, you might to want to contribute toward those charities that helped support them during the difficult times.

There are many noble causes but with so many to choose from, it can be hard for you decide which charities merit your support. Choose a charity you would like to support and investigate them.

Ask for literature to be sent to you in the mail. Review the charity's financial reports that should tell you how much of your donation is actually going to the cause and how much goes toward operating expenses.

Decide the level of support that you are willing to give. Is your donation a one-time effort or will you volunteer at events a couple of times a year? Don't be pressured into doing more than you are comfortable with.

“True charity is the desire to be useful to others without thought of recompense” Emanuel Swedenborg

More Quotes

Check with your local Better Business Bureau to find out if the organization is legitimate. Scams are finding their way to you through the mail, phone and internet.

Choosing the right charity for your generous support can make a real difference in the lives of those you'll be helping.

More about donations

Article by: St. Louis Public Library staff