When you hear the word “philanthropy,” you may immediately think of well-to-do public figures such as Mark Zuckerberg, Oprah, and Bill Gates. Then, you may shrink back into silence, feeling that you are not good enough to be a philanthropist, too. Nothing could be further from the truth, according to philanthropy advocate Sam Zherka, who also goes by the name of Selim Zherka.

You can get started with philanthropy in several easy ways if you have a willingness to promote others’ welfare. For starters, you need to put together a strategy for achieving what you desire to accomplish through your philanthropic efforts. The biggest question to ask yourself is, what is truly significant to you?

For instance, perhaps you are interested in giving to a cause because you feel you are morally obligated to do so. Or, maybe you desire to give because this is in line with your religious traditions or beliefs. Perhaps your loved one is affected by a certain type of disease, so you feel particularly motivated to donate time or money to research efforts related to it. Figure out what matters most to you, and let that be your chief area of focus when choosing your philanthropic strategy.

After you have figured out a solid strategy, it’s time to do some homework. Your local library or the internet can be an effective starting point for finding top charities according to third-party organizations. Based on the charity rating lists you find, you can select the one that is most relevant to your strategy and then perform additional research to learn more about it.

What you really need to know is why the charity was given its current rating, how it puts its donations to use, and how it is impacting others. You’ll also want to be on the lookout for any negative press, including illegal activity or scams. If the organization was involved in a scandal years ago, find out how the situation was remedied and if the charity has taken steps to turn itself around.

Finally, after settling down on a charity, figure out a sustainable solution for addressing the needs of those served by the charity. For instance, if you have decided to work with a soup kitchen, maybe donating money or food is not the most efficient way to feed the hungry. Instead, consider creating a community garden, where you can teach the needy can learn how to prepare, grow, and harvest their food. Thinking big picture can go a long way in helping you to make a big difference in the world around you.