These days, most people with a smart phone or a computer - that is, to say, most people - use the Internet to aid their decision making. I recently bought hand-held video game players for my kids as a way of making our summer travels more enjoyable for everyone. Before making my purchase, I used an online forum of my friends to ask about personal experiences with various brands. I then used a different website to read product reviews from tech gurus. Another website helped me find coupon codes so that I could get the game players, games, and accessories all at a discount. Lastly, I purchased everything I needed online. I loved having all of that information right in front of me.
Did you know that you can do the same when 'shopping' for organizations to support? A 2007 survey published in The Chronicle of Philanthropy showed that 40% of donors research charities online. I have a hunch that in the 3 years since, that number has increased. It's not as if we are using the Internet any less in 2010. And that is a very good thing because it makes it easy for people to find and fund organizations they feel passionate about.
For people in Kansas City, there are a number of excellent online sources of information about local and national charities. The Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance has detailed reports on 100s of nationally-soliciting organizations. Our local BBB also has a growing list of reports on local organizations doing great work here in Kansas City. Lastly, the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation has a fantastic database of information on all of the charities it supports.
With all these resources at your fingertips, there is no excuse for not being an educated donor. So find a charity that suits your passion and let your fingertips do the walking.