Supporting Local vs. Global Charities

local vs global charities international giving non-profit

If you have recently decided to begin donating money to worthy causes, you may be wondering whether you should focus your giving on smaller, locally-based organizations or on global nonprofits that address larger issues. While examining both options, it’s important to note that many philanthropists, such as 30 year biotech CEO, Ralph Thurman, provide support for those in need through both community-based and broader projects. Here are some things to consider as you look into the operations of the groups you are interested in supporting.

Giving Locally

In general, local charitable organizations tend to be smaller and usually have lower operational costs. This often means that the money you give will have a more direct impact on the people, animals, services, or cultural institutions you support. You may also feel a stronger sense of involvement when donating to a community-based organization, as you’re more likely to see the charity’s efforts firsthand and you can watch your dollars doing the good things you intended. Whether your donation funds meals for homeless veterans, provides beds to a dog shelter, pays for transportation for chemotherapy patients, or buys books for stocking the town library, the positive impact of your local giving will hit closer to home.

It's important to note, however, that local organizations sometimes have a harder time attracting corporate sponsorships and other large donations that can cover their overhead. When that’s the case, small groups might struggle with staying up and running, and the money you give may go toward paying bills rather than directly supporting the needs of your community.

Giving Globally

A big positive when giving to global organizations is that the money you donate frequently stretches much further than it would locally. Thinking about just two major international concerns, namely ending hunger and combatting communicable diseases, the cost of providing food and medications is typically significantly lower in other countries than it is here in the United States. Global nonprofits also tend to attract more donors than local endeavors, so your gift is boosted even more by the fact that it is being combined with funds from a great number of contributors.

Although your donations may have more purchasing power elsewhere, keep in mind that running a massive charitable operation is usually costly. While local charities may rely entirely on the free labor of volunteers to achieve their missions, major global organizations hire experts to run things, and those specialists are typically paid with donated funds. In other words, rather than your contribution paying to put goods and services in the hands of those in need, it may be paying someone’s salary.

Charity Conclusion

Whether you choose to support local or global charities or a mix of the two like Ralph Thurman does, there are pros and cons associated with both options. To be sure your donation is doing exactly what you expect it to do, keep these things in mind as you are researching organizations. That way you can make a confident choice when it comes to contributing to worthy causes.

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