Frequently Asked Questions
What is Simply Virtuous?
Simply Virtuous is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. We research and select trustworthy charitable organizations that we believe are worthy of receiving donations. We categorize charities into portfolios based on specific causes such as climate change or helping the elderly. For each of our featured charities, we write research reports summarizing important projects, recent financials, and their highest compensated employees.
We wanted an easy to use and comprehensive website that told us who to donate to based on what causes we cared about. Searching for specific terms like “charities who work on climate change” yielded few results. We searched charity rating websites, but found the vast amount of ratings overwhelming, and were disappointed to see a focus solely on quantitative analysis rather than a mix of both quantitative and qualitative analysis. Ratings are great if you already have an organization in mind and want to make sure that they’re worthy of your donation, but we wanted something more. We wanted explicit recommendations based on research and a thorough vetting of financials and projects. We couldn’t find anything like that, so we set out to create it on our own. We aim to cut through the noise and offer our users a simplified approach to donating.
How do you fund your operations?
As a registered 501c3 charitable organization, we rely on public support to fund our mission. We use the funds from our membership fees and individual contributions to cover our expenses related to website maintenance, legal fees, accounting fees, and employee salaries. If you like what we do, please consider becoming a member or adding a small donation to SV when you complete a transaction.
What is a charity portfolio?
Portfolios feature charities that work towards the same cause. We take a holistic approach, meaning we find charities that work in different ways for different subsets of a problem, so that when donated to as a whole all facets of the problem are being addressed.
How do you choose which charities are included in a portfolio?
We follow the below methodology to select charities:
- Search Guidestar.org’s general categories for organizations whose work involves the cause.
- Remove organizations that aren’t registered as a 501c3.
- Remove organizations that only work on a local level.
- Remove organizations with under 500K budgets.
- Quantitative assessment: review financial statements, audits, budgets, reserves vs total running costs, and statistics regarding their impact.
- Qualitative assessment: review an organization’s current and past programs, board and executive staff, advocacy efforts, corporate partnerships, breadth vs. certainty (sponsoring one person’s lung cancer treatment vs. changing broad attitudes toward smoking), theories of change, etc.
- Look for organizations that use at least one of our virtuous circle categories (research, policy & legislature, working with the private sector, advocacy, generating awareness, and direct service)
- Look for a mixture of small (500K-3M) and mid to large (3M-900M) budgets.
Where do my donations go?
We pass along donations to your selected charity or group of charities. For donations to our charity portfolios, we divide the total donation evenly among the organizations. We take 4% of the transaction to cover credit card fees (3%) and administrative costs (1%) such as hosting our website and domain name. To simplify the procedure and reduce banking fees, we pay the charities (in the form of a grant) on a quarterly basis.
Why should I donate through you instead of through the charity’s website?
We take care of the backend work for you. If you wanted to donate to seven different charities, you’d have to create seven different accounts, complete seven different transactions, and keep seven different receipts. With us, you only have one account, one transaction, and you can download an up-to-date receipt at any time.
Are my donations tax deductible?
Yes. When you’re ready to file your taxes, simply log into your account, go to donation history, and filter for the tax year for which you are filing.
How do I deduct charitable donations from my taxes?
You must file an IRS Form 1040 and itemize your deductions on Schedule A. For donations to SV, you will add your total yearly amount donated to Line 16. The IRS requires single donations of over $250 to include a receipt showing the amount donated and if we gave you goods or services in return for your contribution. To simplify this distinction, all of our donations are given a receipt with this information included, regardless of the amount.
How can I read your reports?
Each featured charity has a financial snapshot and intro page that can be accessed by everyone. Full reports that include project, research, and activity summaries, financial analysis, and employee information are available for members only. Please click on “membership” to sign up and gain access to the reports.
What are the benefits of membership?
When you become a member, you have access to our entire library of research reports for one year. We publish reports on a yearly basis and when new portfolios are created. Members will be notified of new reports and updated information.
Members also have the ability to set up recurring payments, simplifying the donation process even further.
How much does membership cost?
$50 for one year. This membership fee counts as a tax deductible donation.
I like what you do, but I don’t want to read all these reports. Can I make a one-time donation instead?
Of course! You can donate to us here, or you can add a donation to SV when you donate to an existing portfolio.