In 2008, charities in America received $307 billion in donations. Unfortunately, many of the recipients of those funds were not worthy of the country’s generosity. When donating to a charity, it is important to be a smart and savvy donor in order to assure you are supporting a quality organization. Here are some tips:
- Be proactive in your giving by identifying causes that are most important to you and your family.
- "Eliminate the middleman" by donating directly to the charity and not via a fundraiser that calls you on the phone.
- Be careful of sound-alike names as many charities have strikingly similar names to others.
- Confirm that the organization is a 501 (c)(3) public charity. This also assures that your donation is tax exempt.
- Review copies of the charity’s financial records. The financial health of a charity is a strong indicator of the charity’s programmatic performance. The most efficient charities spend at least 75% of their budget on their programs and services. You can view a complete list of financial evaluations of over 5,400 charities by visiting Charity Navigator.
- Start a dialogue with the charity to learn about their accomplishments and goals.
- Concentrate your giving by finding just a few charities and supporting them over the long term.