Key considerations for giving to foreign nonprofits
People support foreign nonprofits for different reasons. A decision to make a charitable gift is often based on life experience, connection, giving back to country and community, personal belief, or new knowledge. Whether you're just thinking about giving overseas or you already have a giving plan, CAFAmerica offers several key things to consider.
Decide what’s important to you
Everybody has a personal history, so planning cross-border giving starts with you. It's also a wonderful opportunity to involve children, grandchildren, parents, friends and anyone else you wish in outlining the purpose of your philanthropy. Spend some time reflecting on what matters to you and how you'd like to support it.
Your answers to these questions can help guide your charitable giving strategy:
Define your giving goals
- What are three experiences abroad or at home that have been truly rewarding?
- Have you moved to a different country and want to give back to the community and culture you moved from?
- If you could make the world better in small steps, what would you do first?
- Do you have a favorite charity that works overseas?
- What are the issues or institutions you care about the most?
What do you want to accomplish with your international giving?
Set your giving budget
- Contribute to a specific project or program, help build an endowment, make a bequest, or help buy some needed equipment for the organization?
- Focus on local, regional or national groups?
- Volunteer for the organizations to which you give?
- Make one or two larger gifts or several smaller ones?
Decide how much you are comfortable giving each year and how you want to allocate your contribution – annually, semiannually, quarterly or monthly. Then calculate how much you want to give each nonprofit organization or cause.
Do your homework
Next, review our nonprofit database
to identify which different nonprofit organizations (religion, education, social services, health and medical research, the environment) and countries most interest you.
Review your giving plan regularly
- Decide what percentage of your budget you'd like to devote to which category.
- Contact the charity in which you are interested and find out more about it. Or ask CAFAmerica to do some in-depth fact finding for you.
- Talk to friends, family and neighbors, and use the internet to learn more about a charity or issue that interests you.
- Request information from the foreign nonprofit about its structure, finances and Board of Directors. Many organizations provide this information online.
- Find out from this information whether the nonprofit is headed in a direction that is consistent with your objectives.
- If you're interested in supporting a local organization, consider a site tour or speak to CAFAmerica to see if we can arrange one for you.
Look back over the past year -- did you fulfill your goals for cross-border giving? Do you need to make changes? Do you need more help in establishing your goals? If so, what worked and what will you change for next year? You may wish to take advantage of CAFAmerica’s Advisory Services