When creating your estate plan and writing your Will, you may be considering leaving a charitable bequest to a non-profit organisation. Giving to charity is a powerful way to leave a positive impact on the world, and can be a meaningful way to ensure that your legacy continues beyond your lifetime.
However, with so many charitable organisations to choose from, it can be challenging to decide which charity to donate your remaining assets to.
In this article, we'll explore how to choose a charity to donate to in your Will, including examples of effective global and Australian charities.
What is a Bequest in a Will?
A bequest is a gift of property or assets that is made in a Will. Essentially a charity donation made after you die, bequests can take many forms- such as a specific amount of money, a percentage of the estate, or a particular piece of property.
With this in mind, charitable bequests are a common way for individuals to support non-profit organisations and leave a legacy after they die.
Why donate to charity in your Will?
Writing a Will is about so much more than organising your assets for after you die. Offering the chance to support families you love and causes you believe in, your estate plan can play an important role in how you’re remembered and the impact you make.
With this in mind, there are many ways leaving a bequest to a charity can help you do this, and many experience different benefits from doing so. These include:
Making a difference - Charitable giving is a powerful way to make a positive impact on the world and support causes that are important to you.
Legacy building - Leaving a bequest to a charity can be a meaningful way to ensure that your legacy continues beyond your lifetime.
Tax benefits -Charitable bequests can also provide tax benefits, such as reducing the estate tax burden on your heirs.
End of life wishes - For many individuals, making a bequest to a charity is a way to express their end-of-life wishes and values- taking back control against the powerlessness of death and finding peace in empowered, end of life planning.
How to choose a charity
Choosing a charity to donate to can be a challenging decision. With so many non-profit organisations to choose from, it's important to do your research and find a charity that aligns with your values and has a proven track record of effectiveness.
More than just where your money goes, it’s important to know the impact it’s having and the lives it's changing when making this decision.
Going through a few questions can help you determine the direction you want charitable endeavours to take, as well as help you find the peace of mind from choosing well.
Here are some steps to take when choosing a charity to donate to:
Determine your values
When it comes to end of life wishes and life values, everyone is different. Choosing a charity to donate to is much the same, and it's important your choice is informed by what causes and values are most important to you.
Whether it’s environmental causes, social justice, health and medical research- there are an endless number of causes in need.
At this stage it's also important to consider where you want to make an impact- choosing between community work, or between local, national or global charities helping people all over the world.
Once you have identified your values, it's time to start researching charities. There are many online resources available that can help you evaluate charities, such as Charity Navigator and GiveWell. These resources provide information about a charity's financial health, transparency, and effectiveness.
Whilst it's important to be guided by where your emotion strings pull, it’s also important to consider effectiveness so your donation can make the best impact.
3. Evaluate impact
When choosing a charity to donate to, it's important to consider the organisation's impact. Looking for charities that have a proven track record of effectiveness and are able to demonstrate the impact of their work can help provide tangible evidence of where your money will be going.
Ever heard of altruism? How about effective altruism? Well, whether you realise you're doing it or not, researching charity impact is what the effective altruism philosophy is all about- transferring good intentions into maximum, positive impact.
In taking the first steps to writing your Will, you’ve taken a leap in turning your death into something which can support your families and the causes you love. Don’t sell your efforts short by not researching where this intention could go!
List of charities in Australia
Safewill partners with hundreds of charities each year to raise money through gifts in Wills. Our online Will platform makes it easier than ever to leave a charitable donation within your estate plan, and help build the legacy for after you die.
Check out our Charities Directory for an extensive list of our existing charity partners. From the suicide prevention work of Lifelife, asylum support of the Red Cross and life saving research of FightMND- there's endless ways you can help make a transformative impact on the lives of others, near and far, with your Will.
Charity Comparison websites
There are a number of websites that provide information and comparisons on charities, making it easier to make informed decisions about where to donate your money. In giving impartial evaluations, these websites also help keep charities accountable and working effectively through accountability mechanisms.
We’ve included few of the best charity comparison websites, below:
1. Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) - The ACNC is the national regulator of charities in Australia. They provide a register of charities and information on each charity's governance, financials, and activities. The ACNC also provides a Charity Register search tool that allows donors to search for charities by name, ABN, or location.
2. Charity Navigator - Charity Navigator is a non-profit organisation that rates charities based on their financial health, accountability, and transparency. Providing detailed information on each charity's financial performance, governance, and programs- the site helps you become an expert donator by rating charities on a scale of 0 to 4 stars, with 4 stars being the highest rating.
3. GiveWell - GiveWell is another non-profit organisation that conducts in-depth research on charities to identify the most effective and impactful ones. Focusing on charities that work in the areas of global health and poverty reduction, this site is a good choice if you're looking to donate to make an impact outside Australia.
Similar to Charity Navigator, GiveWell provides detailed analysis and recommendations on which charities are most effective- based on a number of objective criteria such as cost-effectiveness, scalability, and transparency.
Examples of effective global charities
Using these tools, you can choose between thousands of global charities that are not only doing important work, but have a proven track record of effectiveness.
However, if you're looking to donate to global endeavours, we’ve added a list of some of the most effective listed charities below:
Against Malaria Foundation - The Against Malaria Foundation is a non-profit organisation with an effective reputation for distributing insecticide-treated mosquito nets; essential for preventing malaria in high-risk areas.
GiveDirectly - GiveDirectly is a reputable non-profit organisation that provides direct cash transfers to individuals living in extreme poverty across the world.
Doctors Without Borders - An international medical humanitarian organisation that provides emergency medical care to people affected by conflict, epidemics, and natural disasters.
Examples of effective Australian charities
If you're looking to go more close to home on your legacy giving, we’ve included a list of some of Australia's most reputable non-profit organisations:
To Wrap Up
Making a charitable bequest in your Will can be a meaningful way to leave a positive impact on the world and support causes that are important to you. When choosing a charity to donate to, it's important to do your research and find a non-profit organisation that aligns with your values and has a proven track record of effectiveness.
By choosing a charity wisely, you can ensure that your bequest makes a meaningful difference and leaves a lasting legacy.
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