Questions to Ask a Nonprofit Before Investing in It

Thinking of donating to a nonprofit? Here are some suggested questions to ask nonprofit organizations before investing in them. The answers can help you determine which charities to give to and evaluate the performance of the philanthropies you already support.

  1. How are you collaborating with similar organizations on a local, regional, or national level?
  2. What are the main obstacles that inhibit the fulfillment of your mission? How are you planning to overcome them?
  3. What are your annual goals, needs, and results? How do they compare to similar organizations in your community?
  4. How much turnover have you experienced of employees and board members in the last two years?
  5. To what degree have you attracted new people and new ideas to your organization and board?
  6. How well have you utilized your funding? Describe how efficiently you have fulfilled your goals of recent years in relationship to the amount of funds you have raised.
  7. Most for-profit organizations have recently restructured themselves in recent years to become more efficient and productive. How, if at all, are you considering (or have you implemented) some version of this approach?
  8. How efficiently is your organization run? To what degree have you assigned day-to-day management responsibilities to a tightly run executive committee instead of relying upon your full board?
  9. Who are your main competitors and how do your results in recent years compare to theirs?