How do I Choose a Charity for my Kilimanjaro Climb?

There are over one million charities registered in the United States and millions more internationally. With so many options, it can be difficult to select a charity to support. Chances are, you already have a charity in mind. And if so, that is great. But if not, here are some considerations for selecting the right charity for your Kilimanjaro climb.

What cause are you passionate about?

When selecting a charity, most people look for an organization with a cause that has touched their life in a significant way. For example, a person who has lost a loved one to cancer may elect to support the American Cancer Society. People who climb Kilimanjaro are often proponents for the environment, so conservation based charities such as the Sierra Club Foundation are possible beneficiaries. Given that Mount Kilimanjaro is in Africa, local Tanzanian or east African charities are also logical choices. Connecting your cause in some way to the Kilimanjaro climb is ideal.

If no organizations come to mind, and you feel that you do not have any specific ties or strong feelings about a cause, it may help to browse through a list of charities and see if anything catches your eye or more importantly, appeals to you heart. It will be much easier to solicit donations for a cause that you are passionate about.

The Internal Revenue Service maintains a list of all organizations registered as charities.

How much of the donation goes to the cause?

All charities have operating costs, but those with lower costs means that more of your donors' funds go to your cause. A good minimum standard is that 65% or more of donations will go toward the cause, and conversely, 35% or less of the donations will be used towards operating costs. Charities should disclose this information to the public. Note that some charities have higher costs based on other factors. Smaller and less known charities may have higher costs because it is harder for them to raise money from the general public. The same applies for charities that appeal to very specific groups of people. On the other hand, popular charities and groups that rely mostly on volunteers generally have lower costs.

Where does the charity help?

Many people prefer to support charities that are working in their own communities, or a cause that somehow affects them. However, others believe that the people with the most desperate needs are those in extremely poor countries, thus they support charities that work internationally. Both local and foreign organizations are perfectly fine to support in you Kilimanjaro climb for charity.