Here's what I've come up with so far:
- Theological health of the organization. Obviously, it's difficult for me to imagine giving a dime to an organization with which I don't have a pretty high level of theological affinity, and a similarly high level of agreement with the application of that theology.
- Proven record of wise stewardship of resources and productive use of them. Here I'm thinking of one particular organization, to which I've never yet donated myself, that consistently launches worthwhile initiatives and works to make resources available for free or at a very affordable cost.
- Stability of leadership. Is there constant turnover? Does the leadership model and implement within the organization the theology and philosophy of ministry the organization is seeking to advance?
- Strategic nature of the ministry. Is this organization doing something no one else is doing? Is its work hitting at core issues or symptoms of deeper problems? Is the ministry gospel-centered?
- Personal relationships. All other things being equal, I think there's value in giving to people you know to encourage their work and develop deeper opportunities for partnership.