I’m going to ask you a very easy question. What’s your favorite ice cream? You probably didn’t have to think very long to answer that one. What about your favorite restaurant? Again, easy. But what if I asked you who your favorite child is? I know you would say you love them all the same. But that’s not totally true. You do have that one special kid. We won’t tell his brothers and sisters. Promise.
Here’s a tougher question. What is your favorite charity and why? The favorite charity part is probably easier to pinpoint. But the why part? How did you make that decision? I think it is important to know. You need to know to whom or to what you are giving your support…your time … your cash.
For help, let’s turn to www.guidestar.org, a website that offers up-to-date information on nonprofit organizations. Here’s what they say you need to do to be able to give with your head, as well as your heart. You need to be clear on your own values and see if you can align them with your pick. And you should identify your preferences. What’s important to you? The environment, education, sick children, animal welfare? And where do you want your charity to do its work to best support its goals? Is it in your neighborhood, your state, the country, internationally?
You need to check your charity’s legitimacy and, probably, its funding. Make sure it can define its mission and programs clearly. And it probably wouldn’t hurt to ask what progress the charity is making toward its goals — and what metrics it is using to measure that. This process isn’t as difficult as it sounds.
Turns out my charity of choice is the American Cancer Society. Did I follow all those rules to pick them initially? Not really. For the last two years my husband has been in remission after completing his cancer treatment. And I’m cancer-free following my operation over the holidays. So the choice was pretty easy. But I did do all my homework after the fact, And they get an A+ in my book.
Now I’m going to ask a favor of you for my charity. The chamber has teamed up with The Retired Officers’ Corporation at Freedom Plaza to rally our troops to fight cancer. This Mini-Relay-For-Life happens next Thursday, April 11, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Freedom Plaza’s Golfview Terrace Grounds. Come out and join us for food, raffles and the chance to support survivors and those still battling cancer. I think the Chamber Champions will be selling pizza. So, come on out and grab a slice with us.
I’m not trying to get you to cheat on your own favorite charity. But you should know all proceeds benefit the local chapter of the American Cancer Society, so we’re keeping it close to home. I do believe a cure for cancer will be found in my lifetime since my lifetime was extended by lifesaving surgery. Please come out just for a little bit and help us kick cancer’s butt.
Lynne Conlan is Executive Director of the Sun City Center Area Chamber of Commerce. Call her at 813-634-5111, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.