How to donate wisely

Tips for Choosing a Charity

Giving to charity is very fulfilling. Though, you need to make sure you are giving to reputable charities. Donor transparency is shaping how donors like you are giving. It is essential to know that your gifts are used correctly. Raising awareness about charity fraud is a way to promote wise giving.

So, when you give, you should be certain that the charity isn’t a scam and that the contribution big or small will have the greatest impact. Here’s a checklist to make sure you’re giving wisely.

  • Find a charity’s mission you believe in.

If the charity is a local or national charity with programs in your area; you can volunteer your time or go in person to check out the organization.

  • Make sure the organization is legitimate, reputable charity.

You can utilize websites such as GuideStar, CharityWatch, and CharityNavigator, which are information-based organizations that specialize in reporting non-profit organizations.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recommends that donors watch out for names that look like well-known charities. Just because a group sounds like a well-known organization or has a sympathetic sounding name doesn’t mean it’s legitimate. Some of the worst offenders have been known to mimic the names of reputable organizations.

  • Determine how your donation will be used.

Do you want the donation to go towards programming, or would you like the gift to help with administrative costs? Most organizations’ budgets go towards programming. However, keep in mind that for non-profits to run, they need money to pay for operating expenses too.  Plus, ask if your donation will be tax-deductible.

  • Is the organization making an impact?

Evaluate the measurable effect the organization is having. Are they making the difference you are anticipating?

  • If you don’t have the time to do the research and can’t decide which charity to choose, you can still make a tax-deductible charitable contribution to a Donor Advised Fund.

The Community Foundation administers Donor Advised Funds. Donor Advised Funds act as a charitable savings account.  Plus, the Foundation can do the research for you, making sure your donation is going to a reputable organization.

When in doubt, trust your instincts.  Don’t contribute to an organization you don’t feel comfortable with.  Make your donation count.  Any reputable organization would be happy to work with you and we are blessed with many local organizations that are putting your contributions to good use.

Contact us or any local organization today because your donation counts.