ConnectOC Blog

Giving smart

Posted by: Shelley Hoss on 7/15/2013

By Shelley Hoss

The ConnectOC Blog is a place for sharing insight, information and examples of how Orange County residents, donors and nonprofits are working to build a brighter, stronger, more vibrant community. We welcome you to share your thoughts by commenting below.

A new database of local nonprofits is aimed at helping donors find and research groups worth their support.

The Orange County Community Foundation’s new Nonprofit Central database is an online “matchmaker” for philanthropy.

“This is really the first resource of its kind in Orange County,” says Todd Hanson, vice president of Donor and Community Engagement for OCCF. “Donors can find nonprofits that address the issues they care about most.”

Through Nonprofit Central, organizations can share their background, goals, current projects and needs in their own words. And online donation features make the giving process easy for both the giver and the recipient. 

Nonprofit Central launched with 155 nonprofit profiles addressing everything from education and arts to human services.  The foundation's goal is to list every active, staffed nonprofit in Orange County—about 600 organizations in all. To be included in the system, organizations must be a valid 501(c)3 and have filed Form 990 with the IRS, and then must have their profile approved by OCCF staff.

“One of the site’s greatest features is that it will encourage and facilitate giving in Orange County on a level that has never been done before,” says Eric Boden, retired executive and OCCF donor. “We're already a very generous county but more can be done. Donors want to understand who and what they are giving to. They don't want to just write a check; they want to give to what they're passionate about and what they know is a sound organization.”

The site lets users search a variety of broad categories followed by a list of subcategories. You can also customize your search through keywords, categories and geographic areas served.

“I appreciate that this database offers such transparency and comprehensive background information,” says Pam Pimentel, CEO of MOMS Orange County, a Santa Ana-based nonprofit.  “A donor is able see into our organization - what we have accomplished, who's on our board, our financial information for past three years - in layman’s terms; everything that can help put their mind at ease because they will know their money is going to a proven organization.  We couldn’t be more thrilled.”

As you make giving decisions, consider your first stop to be Nonprofit Central.  Gathering important information about causes you are passionate about will help you make informed choices on where your charitable dollars can make the greatest impact in Orange County.  Visit www.ocnonprofitcentral.org today!

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Shelley Hoss is president of the Orange County Community Foundation.

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