What drives someone to give? While it’s safe to say that many associate the primary force behind donating comes from a positive place, that may not always be true. Many times, the initial spark of desire to donate originates from somewhere else. Maybe we read something or saw something online that angered, scared, or made us feel overwhelming sadness. These feelings are what forces us to realize that something must change. It’s these emotions that deeply impact us and sometimes propels us to act.

And that’s not a bad thing. While giving to a reputable cause and making a difference is always positive, it’s the steps to get there that can be fueled by something perceived as negative. Even if an emotion is a ‘negative’ one, how negative is it if something good comes from it in return? We obviously shouldn’t disregard those feelings. Sometimes we need to direct our feelings towards something constructive, something positive.  At Charity Navigator, we saw this in 2020 during the early waves of the pandemic across the nation, in the months following the death of George Floyd, as well as in the weeks prior to the U.S. presidential election. Donors expressed their generosity in the midst of an economic crisis by supporting charities aligned with COVID-19 relief, recovery and education efforts, civil rights and racial justice, and voting rights and election laws.

With today’s technology and the rate at which new information is made available, it has become too easy to be inundated with news. This constant drip feed of updates allows us to see the problems the world faces as they happen, and while it’s important to be connected, it can also quickly become overwhelming. Instead of shutting down and feeling frustrated or angered, find organizations that are directly involved in the causes that matter most to you.

There are easy ways to do this. Asking family and friends about worthy charities is one way. Another, is to search for nonprofits on the internet, although the results may take a bit of patience to sift through. An easier, more efficient way is to use Charity Navigator to search for organizations within categories, aligned with specific causes, and focused on locations you wish to reach. Nonprofit evaluators such as ours are independent of those we rate and allow donors to have access to data from the I.R.S., information pulled from the charity’s own website, as well as other publicly-available sources.

Read the full article about channeling energy for impact in challenging times at Charity Navigator.