What is Giving Compass?
We connect donors to learning resources and ways to support community-led solutions. Learn more about us.
Giving Compass' Take:
• GlobalGiving's Smart Giving 101 Guide explores 10 giving myths and how philanthropists can work to overcome them.
• How will this information help inform your giving?
• The Lilly Family School of Philanthropy debunks eight more myths here.
MYTH #1: My donation is too small to matter.
Reality: Your charitable donations, no matter how small, are essential to the survival of nonprofits in your community.
MYTH #2: Making a donation to a nonprofit does not benefit me.
Reality: Evidence from multiple studies shows people are happier when they spend money on others rather than themselves
MYTH #3: Being a philanthropist just means giving money away.
Reality: It is not just about money—philanthropists can contribute their time, money, and participation.
MYTH #4: Fundraising costs should be kept as low as possible.
Reality: Spending on things besides programs and direct services, including fundraising, is actually vital.
MYTH #5: Nonprofit CEO and staff salaries should be kept to a minimum.
Reality: Fair and competitive staff compensation helps nonprofits recruit and retain top talent. Nonprofits work on complicated social problems; they need the very best professionals on staff to solve them.
MYTH #6: The best way I can make a difference is to start my own nonprofit.
Reality: Often, you can make just as much of an impact by supporting or collaborating with existing, like-minded organizations that want to scale up or build their capacity.
MYTH #7: Nonprofits are irresponsible with donations.
Reality: Scams, misuse of funds, and other stories of immorality may make the news, but this poor behavior is an anomaly among the nearly 2 million nonprofits that operate in the U.S.
MYTH #8: Nonprofits cannot make a profit.
Reality: Nonprofits actually can make a profit (and some aim for a small amount of profitability to ensure sustainability).
MYTH #9: Most nonprofits are large and do not need my money.
Reality: The majority of nonprofits in the U.S. are small, grassroots organizations with annual budgets of $1 million or less.
MYTH #10: Nonprofits cannot get political.
Reality: Nonprofits can and do lobby on behalf of their constituents for all kinds of causes.