According to surveys, the average person wants to donate more – but they are unsure how to eke more out of their finances. Unfortunately, this is but one of many concerns when it comes to supporting charities. A run of less than ethical nonprofits has put heat on all legitimate ones, raising questions, concerns, and hesitation.

That begs the question; what is the smartest way to donate, given financial and ethical concerns? There are thousands of people asking this question globally, and thankfully there are some solutions available.

Find Other Ways to Help

Charities need more than hard cash (though that certainly never hurts). There will always be alternative ways to give back, even when a budget is tight. For example, you can always donate your time, skills, and even your stuff.

Financially Savvy Donations

Given all of the alternatives to donating, it should come as no surprise that there are just as many ways to be a financially savvy donator. If you’re looking to make the biggest bang for your buck, look for donation matching opportunities.

Taking it a step further, donators can set up automated processes to ensure that they hit their goals – and stay on track. If this idea sounds interesting but intimidating, it might be time to talk to a financial planner.

Research is Key

As far as finding the right nonprofit to support – research is your friend. The first step in this process is to try to find a nonprofit that fits with your values. Consider how you want to help better the world, and find an organization striving to do precisely that.

Once that part is done, it’s time to research the organization. Sites like Charity Navigator and Charity Watch can help make quick work of this process, though it never hurts to do your own research.

One thing to keep an eye out for is how high the organization’s operating costs are. Will most of the donation be going towards that fund? Or will the money be doing something good – such as helping the cause you’re actually trying to support? This is an important question, and if the organization can’t (or won’t) answer it, then it is time to move on.