Many people like you have a giving heart, willing to donate to charity. However, how do you choose which one to support? There are thousands to choose from and the amount of money you donate won’t matter unless you know it will be well-spent. Many charities are legitimate but are they a good steward of their money? It is important to conduct a little due diligence to ensure your hard-earned money is being put to good use.
Choosing a Legitimate Charity
One of the first things you should find out before donating your money is determining the legitimacy of the organization. Are they a 501 (c)(3) organization able to accept donations and offer tax-deductible receipts? You can check with the Internal Revenue Service to confirm an organization’s status. There are also national organizations such as GuideStar.org that also maintain databases where you can search for a charity you are considering.
Understanding the Charity’s Primary Goals
Problems are tackled in different ways, depending on the charitable organization. With a little research, you can ensure that your monetary gift is addressing a cause that you are passionate about, something that tugs at the heartstrings. Often, people give to charities that they know or are familiar with simply because a friend or family member is affected by the cause being supported.
Ask Questions and Volunteer if Possible
You are entitled to ask questions of the charity in regards to their programs and expenses. Consider asking them how your donation will be spent. Inquire about the number of people that have been helped in the past year through the organization’s programs and how they were helped. You should feel good about giving so if the answers are not adequate, stop and carefully consider donating.
Volunteering can be a great way to really get to know a charitable organization. With hands-on experience, you will have a better understanding of how the charity accomplishes its mission.
While a charity might be legitimate and well-known, how would you feel if you knew that a large percentage of monetary donations go toward administrative and fundraising expenses with little going to actual programs? The common rule amongst charity watchdogs like the American Institute of Philanthropy is that at least 60% or more of donations should go directly to programs that fulfill its mission.
Choosing a charitable organization like Fulfill Your Destiny, a Tampa non-profit, would maximize your donation since 100% is funneled directly to individuals receiving assistance from the charity. While many organizations cannot do that, there are still many that minimize expenses so that their constituents are best served.
Once you have chosen a charity, how much should you donate? Fortunately, there is no right or wrong answer. It is what you can afford to give. However, if you truly believe in a cause, don’t limit your giving to once or twice a year. Make giving a regular habit by building in charitable giving into your monthly budget.