November 2019
December 2021
Bryan Orander, President, Charitable Advisors
Your Personal Charitable Giving -
Wrapping Up the Year and Preparing for 2022
I recently received an inquiry from an old friend who is a financial planner. He wanted advice on how to coach his clients around the myriad of resources available to support charitable giving. It seems that people often presume there are NO resources readily available to consider, or they start Googling and quickly become overwhelmed by the number of organizations that want to make a business out of helping people give.
In responding to his request, I pulled together a few thoughts that also might be of value to you as you navigate your own giving or assist others in your circles. This represents a very narrow slice of a very big topic. None of this information is offered as an endorsement, or tax and legal advice. We all should recognize that charitable giving is a deeply personal decision driven by personal values, relationships, and motivations.

  • Start here: Access to financial information on every charitable nonprofit (IRS 990 tax return) is available at This site provides invaluable information that gives you a sense of scale of each organization, legitimizes their operations — whether they are operating at a break-even point or better, and whether they are establishing sufficient reserves to sustain them through a downturn. However, it’s important to recognize that this information does not tell you if an organization is any good at accomplishing their mission.

  • Review national evaluators like Charity Navigator, the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance, and Charity Watch: These organizations generally use publicly available information to provide ratings of nonprofits. The common criticism is that you don’t really know the impact of an organization’s work by merely looking at their financials and policies. They are all working to provide more information on impact. The BBB program is often done at the local level and can provide information on a specific local nonprofit.

  • Check GiveWell This site represents a new approach to charity ratings. The organization openly chooses its favorite organizations and tries to measure impact. I don’t know much about them, but they seem to deliver an interesting combination of being both a rater and a conduit to effective giving. I presume they are mainly focused on larger and/or national charities.

  • Contact community foundations and United Way organizations: When locally based, these organizations will have some of the best knowledge of your local nonprofit landscape. They also can help match a donor to the best organizations to support based on the impact they want to make. Community foundations can create local donor advised funds. In Indiana, we have a community foundation in every county but in most of the nation, community foundations cover larger regions and may have less knowledge of smaller, local nonprofits. United Way organizations are mainly focused on the human services space but can be great advisors around which organizations are doing the best work in a community or region.

  • National DAF Funds: Fidelity, Vanguard, and National Christian Foundation act more as financial institutions than advisors on choosing charities. At the national level, these organizations may have very limited knowledge of the nonprofits in your community but can accept and invest funds for current or future giving. The National Christian Foundation, which has some state affiliates with local ministry knowledge, promotes their ability to help donors gift unusual or complicated types of property/assets, including real estate, businesses and works of art.

Finally, review this short article on signs to avoid fraud with charitable giving.
What advice would you add to the list? 

Please contact Bryan Orander at or (317) 752-7153 with questions and comments.

Bryan Orander, President
Cause Camp– May 2-3, 2022
Online or in-person In Grand Rapids, MI

Cause Camp is a nonprofit conference that has been nationally recognized by Forbes Magazine as one of the best conferences in America for the nonprofit sector. Cause Camp is returning in-person and larger than ever in 2022! Prepare yourself for a whole new Cause Camp experience featuring top industry speakers, incredible breakout sessions, and one-on-one networking. Educational resources dedicated to giving nonprofits everything they need to better their organizations and communities. For those in ministry, there is a full day of faith-based content. From $79 (on-line) FMI or to register

We want to recognize board leaders
For most board members, board leadership roles come with a commitment and investment of time and resources to support a cause they care about. However, for the individual who steps up to serve as board president or chair, the role comes with the assumption of overall responsibility for the nonprofit and guiding the organization’s path forward.  

As we continue to share news of board leaders who have taken the helm, we encourage you to recognize and thank these individuals for tackling the role, because as a community member you recognize the value of his or her investment to help keep the sector strong.  

If you want to announce your organization’s new board leader, please send name, position and a head shot HERE.

We are open to other ways we can support and recognize board leaders. Send us your thoughts or tell us a story about a board leader who has made a difference in your organization. Share your ideas with Bryan Orander, president.
Curtis Popp
Chair, Tangram
Vice president of customer operations, Citizens Energy Group
Chris Gahl 
Senior VP, Visit Indy

Looking for a new ED/CEO leadership role?                      

Charitable Advisors has supported 31 nonprofit leadership searches since early 2019.
With more transitions on the horizon, we are building a leadership talent database of experienced nonprofit leaders to make the process more efficient and effective for both candidates and employers.
If you are thinking about or planning to change roles in the next year or sooner, please consider submitting your resume and answering a few questions, in confidence.
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