The Anatomy of a Nonprofit

I’ve seen the term a lot recently and have donated myself to nonprofits. So I wanted to discuss the ins and outs of them. Now we all should know what a nonprofit is. However if you don’t here’s a quick summary from The National Counsel of Non Profits

When you think of a “nonprofit” what do you think of? Most likely, you think of a group making a difference in your community. Maybe you are thinking of a large organization, such as Big Brothers Big Sisters or Make-a-Wish, or maybe you think about a local animal shelter or community theatre. These are groups that are tax-exempt under Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3) as “public charities” because they are formed to provide “public benefit.” Community foundations are also part of this group (and so are private foundations, although tax rules treat them a bit differently than public charities.)

Okay so they define it as a public charity whose money goes to benefiting others. This is through millions of different ways but the goal is still the same. That goal is to always donate or use the money in a way that helps others.

But really what is a successful nonprofit, and why should we give to them?

Let’s start and look at where the most number of nonprofits are.

The top three states tend to be

  1. California
  2. Texas
  3. New York

As per the Counsel of Nonprofits. This makes an incredible amount of sense due to each state’s population and resources. The more population you have, the more people you have in need of charity. That charity may be anything from more food banks to feed the poor and homeless, donations to aid medical care/fight for a cure, donations to organizations who fight discriminatory practices and so on.

Nonprofits need a clear goal of donation, the ability to successfully market and engage others in their work. Organization and policy are two other things that are very important for them as well. Everything must be clear and concise.

One part of nonprofits is that many people fear their money is not going to where it should be. When looking for a nonprofit to donate to a good phrase to search for is “100% of all proceeds will benefit_______” or “direct donation” which means your money will go straight to the charity and not be in a separate bank account or in the bank account of a person before given to the charity. Yes, there are known charity scams which I just suggest to research every charity before you make a considerable donation. Make sure the charity you want to donate to does what it says and stands for what you want it to, and that the owners do as well. It can be disheartening to learn after the donation that one of the owners uses the money for something else or doesn’t stand for what you believe in.

Nonprofits truly stand on the ideas of trust and for you to give in and trust the place you are donating to. You must trust that they will use the money for what they’ve said they would.

For more information on myths about Nonprofits I’ll link you to The Counsel of Nonprofit’s page on it.

The top charity in the world is UNICEF which is the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund or just the United Nation’s Children’s Fund.

What Unicef does is help aid children in developing countries so that they gain access to clean water, food, hygiene supplies, and other basic needs. You can donate here!

The second top charity is Human Rights Watch. Human Rights Watch defends human rights across the world. They consist of over 400 staffers from lawyers to defense attorneys, and other scholars of higher academia that fight for human rights. They meet with governments to ensure the changing of polices to benefit people, sue government leaders who endanger their citizens, and much more. They also team with journalists to report on crisis situations where human rights are being denied or are in danger. You can donate to them here.

The site that lists the top charities is https://topnonprofits.com/lists/best-nonprofits-on-the-web/. They’re listing the top charities that get the most traction online, which is where most people learn about charities now. My first true interaction with the charity known as the ACLU or American Civil Liberties Union was through the platform of Twitter.

Earlier this year our president put forward a controversial ‘Muslim Ban’. The ACLU found that this was unconstitutional and challenged it in court. Here’s what the end of that case looked like, from the ACLU’s website itself.

While the text of the Muslim ban “speaks with vague words of national security,” the court recognized that in context it “drips with religious intolerance, animus, and discrimination.” The ban’s message of religious condemnation is contrary to the bedrock constitutional requirement that the government remain neutral among religions: “When the government chooses sides on religious issues, the inevitable result is hatred, disrespect and even contempt towards those who fall on the wrong side of the line.”

The framers of the Constitution recognized how dangerous taking sides would be for our country, and the Fourth Circuit today vindicated this fundamental principle.

One of the members of the court, Judge Wynn, pointed out the historical context. “We have matured from the lessons learned by past experiences documented, for example, in Dred Scott and Korematsu,” he explained, referring to the shameful decisions permitting slavery and Japanese internment. “Laid bare,” Judge Wynn explained, “this Executive Order is no more than what the President promised before and after his election: naked invidious discrimination against Muslims.”

And that is unconstitutional.

The ACLU relies on donations to defend the constitution and the rights of the American people. What began circulating through twitter was a wave of people who did not support the ban, and they would make monthly or large donations to the ACLU so they can keep defending our rights. If you donate 10 dollars you can become a card carrying member of the ACLU which proves you fight for what they believe in which is at its core equal rights for everyone. Donate here.

But of course nonprofits are not always political and now I’ll do a brief list of the charities I’ve donated to and I encourage you to look into and donate at your wish.

  • DSWT– a wildlife fund to protect Elephants and other African wildlife.
  • MFPLA– My Friend’s Place LA is a Los Angeles homeless shelter specifically for the youth of the city. I donated as part of the Tough Mudder Crowdrise challenge hosted by Grey’s Anatomy Actor Giacomo Gianiotti.
  • Rights4Girls– a charity that helps young female victims of sexual assault and human trafficking.
  • Red Nose Day– benefits the poor communities of the United States!
  • ACLU– I’m a card carrying member myself.
  • Jane Goodall Institute– Following the work of Dr. Jane Goodall, the institute works with conversation efforts and helps women in developing countries.
  • NAMI– National Alliance on Mental Health dedicated to protecting those with mental illness, end stigma, and help generate resources.
  • SickKids Foundation– Sick Kids is a Canadian foundation for hospitalized children with illnesses. The money goes to help treatments, find cures, and help the kids!
  • Global Citizen– Global Citizen is a movement that gathers together people to fight for a cause. Their issues are generally human rights issues and they bring together movement that urges governments to vote in favor of human rights. They also host a Global Citizen festival that headlines with Coldplay, artists like Beyonce, U2 and more and donate the proceeds.
  • Dempsey Center– created by Patrick Dempsey to help the battle against cancer each year the Dempsey Center hosts the Dempsey Challenge which is a walk/run, cycle challenge that you must raise 150 dollars for the foundation to participate in. You can donate either directly to the center or as a challenge participant.

Those are just a few off the top of my head that I remember donating to. I’ve donated a lot of money over the years and I don’t always count it because that seems like a waste. The real issue isn’t how much money I have personally donated but how much we can raise all together. Even as little as five dollars can pay for something so meaningful like a vaccination for a child in a developing country. It’s about humanity and doing what’s right for our world. That’s something I really believe in. So the numerical value of my totals don’t mean much to me because it’ll always be growing.

I encourage everyone to seek out a nonprofit close to their heart and to fight for it. It takes a village, and we are each other’s best sources of help. It’s all about coming together to make the world a better place.