During this period of suffering and uncertainty, people are exploring ways to help one another, including through charitable giving. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act included two provisions with the potential to incentivize taxpayer giving: a $300 deduction for those who do not take the standard deduction and an increased cap on how much individuals and corporations can deduct in charitable gifts in a year. And today is #GivingTuesdayNow, a global day of unity in response to the coronavirus meant to galvanize a wave of generosity to support communities and nonprofits.

Despite the clear need, policy incentives, and movement for charitable giving, many potential donors struggle to determine how best to help others through giving. Although this is an unprecedented crisis, many well-established approaches and best practices for charitable giving can provide guidance.

If you are in a position to give, here are six questions to consider as you think about which charities to support.

  1. Are you concerned about meeting short-term or long-term needs?
  2. Do you have a geographic focus?
  3. How much control do you want over how your gift is spent?
  4. Do you want your donation to factor in equity and the effects of structural racism?
  5. Are you interested in letting the expertise and judgment of others guide your charitable giving?
  6. Do you want to expand your definition of doing good to include commercial activities?

These philanthropic approaches and practices can help you prioritize organizations to support, but there is no one right way to give. What works for one person might not work for another.

Read the full article about six questions to guide your giving by Laura Tomasko at Urban Institute.