It can be difficult not to be moved by the plight of people who are unfortunate enough to be impacted by poverty, natural disasters, epidemics, diseases, and accidents. If you are lucky to have some resources at hand you can consider making a difference by donating to your favorite cause in your local community or even in a far-flung country you have never visited. If you are suddenly struck by doubts that charity, especially in cases where large numbers of people are involved, is best left to governments, large NGOs, and corporations and there is little scope for individuals to make a difference then do think again. According to GivingUSA statistics for 2018, as much as 68% of the overall charitable donations were made by individuals. If you do not know how to donate to your favorite cause, then you can be rest assured that that you will be able to contribute in many different ways at all price points and as per your preferences.


Some typical ways available for you to explore for donating:

Jonah Engler Suggests Using Your Checkbook

Writing out a check is one of the oldest ways of contributing to a charity and even today it remains one of the most common methods of philanthropy. It is very easy to simply pull out your checkbook and write out an amount to your favorite charity when they make a call, send a request, or even pay a personal visit during a fundraising campaign. While many of the Millennials who are unaccustomed to the concept of writing checks may find it more convenient to use their credit cards or pay online, some say there is little to beat the satisfaction that comes with writing out a check.

Jonah Engler Recommends Participating in Charitable Crowdfunding 

With the advent of the Internet, even the way fundraising drives are conducted has changed dramatically. For instance, it is now very common for a group of interested individuals espousing a charitable cause to set up a collection target on a crowdfunding platform through which individuals even of very modest means can pitch in with their funds. The principle of crowdfunding makes it very easy for a large number of individuals who might be geographically distant from each other but believe in supporting a cause to get together and raise the required funds with great ease. Online giving is very simple for the young folks accustomed as they are to online technologies. Some charities are focused on raising funds efficiently and they only accept donations online. According to, there are more than 3,500 online platforms for social giving.

Consider a Donor-Advised Fund Says Jonah Engler

Donor-advised funds or DFAs are a form of charitable giving that was become very popular in recent times. According to estimates, the total assets being managed by DFAs globally are more than $1 billion and growing at a fast clip. DFAs are donation accounts for charities that are offered typically by a sponsoring organization to make it easy for people to give on a continuing basis. The concept of a DFA is that you give a certain amount to the sponsoring institution that has the responsibility of managing it and allowing you to donate the proceeds to your preferred cause. DFAs have become popular because not only is it possible to set up the arrangement for a sum as modest as $5,000 but is far simpler and less expensive than establishing up a private foundation, observes Jonah Engler. All you need to do is to send in the contribution to the DFA, who will not only manage it but also send the donation to the charity of your choice. Since they are domain experts, many of the DFAs will also actively help you to find deserving causes by conducting the necessary research.

Jonah Engler Recommends Establishing a Private or Family Foundation 

Affluent families have traditionally set up foundations to carry on charitable work. Setting up a foundation ensures that the activities are carried out more professionally and there is a plan for enduring continuity. While some of the larger private foundations like the Rockefeller Foundation or Ford Foundation are very well-known, manage a large corpus, and are well-staffed, most of the other private foundations are relatively small with under $1million in assets and are typically understaffed. Regardless of the size of the foundation, you will need a team of passionate people to handle the proposals and also a good legal and accounts team for compliance with tax rules. However, despite the many complications of private foundations, they remain the best channel for affluent families to match their interests and values.

Jonah Engler Suggests Joining a Giving Circle 

Even though in the field of philanthropy, giving circles are relatively new, they are an age-old concept involving the setting up of informal groups of charitable people who pledge to donate an annual or even monthly donation to set up a fund. The contributing members then decide where to give the pooled money, typically deserving causes in the local community. Giving circles are also a wonderful way of people in the local community to connect. Joining a giving circle to make a difference can be not only soul-satisfying but also very enjoyable since you get to interact with like-minded members of the community. If you are looking to start in a small way, your local community is the best place to make inquiries, however, for the more ambitious, there are plenty of giving circles with a nationwide footprint for you to consider.


All the methods discussed earlier are intended for people to donate money; however, you should not forget that money is only one aspect of charity. You can also extend a helping hand by donating clothing, appliances, food, furniture, or even vehicles to local charities. You can also consider giving your time and effort to help your charitable organizations because adequate help is always something that is in short supply. You can seek out volunteering opportunities that match your experience, skill set, interest, and lifestyle. Some people even combine volunteering with their desire to travel and see the world.