Donating is the highest form of caring. It is a way to show that you care about your fellow man and recognize that some have it harder than you. This confirms and celebrates our humanity and sets great standards for others particularly our children to follow.
But how do you determine who which charity is the right one to give money to when there are so many examples of charities that take good people’s money and spend it for things other than they advertise? Great charities include the one run by Meridith Iler, whose Helping a Hero charity benefits wounded veterans with custom homes that accommodate their disabilities. This charity has been nationally recognized for its amazing work and high quality. There are many others that do not have such a distinctive position. You need to know how you can determine which ones are the good ones.
Make sure that you understand the charity’s mission
When you decide which charity to donate your money, you have the right to pick an organization that supports your agendas and goals. But you have to do some real research to make sure that the organization really is behind what you what you want to see.
Going to a non-profit’s website can often not get you the right information you need to make a decision. Their websites are often vague, and contain marketing information rather than cold hard facts. You can read what is there and walk away thinking they are very effective when in actuality they are not. You should look for information on the website that provides detailed program descriptions with the following information clearly laid out for your perusal:
- How each of the nonprofit’s initiatives is managed?
- What benchmarks have been set and achieved by those initiatives in the past?
- How many people are served by the initiatives?
- How do recipients qualify to receive a service?
This information should be clearly displayed and available in greater detail for you to examine and use to make a decision about whether to donate. In the event that this information is absent make a note that these questions need to be answered when you make an initial contact with the group. If they are unable or unwilling to give it, you are probably dealing with a non-profit that is not upstanding.
Be Sure the Group is a nonprofit
A legal non-profit has granted a 501(c)(3) designation by the Internal Revenue Service and should have this status paperwork available for you to review. A 501(c)(3) designation means that the donations that all of the donations made to the organization will be used for charitable purposes; that is abides by long established rules for how it can lobby local and federal governments, and that you donations will be considered tax deductible. There are websites that have a listing of all 501(c)(3) organizations. Be sure you check with one to see if the charity you are researching is on the list. You cannot tell if a company is a non-profit just because it has a website that ends in .org. So if you want to be sure that it is a non-profit and you will get you tax write-off and your donations will go to the groups they claim to support, do your homework and check them out.