Tips for Donating to a Charity

It is good to direct you money to the right organization when it comes time to donate to the charity of your choice. However, in order to make sure your funds are well-spent, you also want to make sure that the organization is following its mission statement and that it falls in line with your expectations with respect to the money spent. Therefore, consider the following tips before you donate money to any charity of interest.

- Besides reviewing the mission statement, you want to look at the organization’s balance sheet and find out some key information. For example, is the organization falling in line with its fundraising appeals? Is it allocating the funds accordingly?

- You also want to review the brochures that are provided by the organization. Are they honest and accurate? Do they follow what is being spent via the balance sheet?

- Take a look at the non-profit’s Board of Directors. Are they committed to the organization’s cause? Or do they have certain self-interests? You want to make sure that the individuals who are heading the organization are as committed as you are in realizing an organization’s goals.

- In order to better acquaint yourself with the charity in which you want to donate funds, it might be a good idea to volunteer your services first. That way you can obtain upfront information about how the non-profit is set up and what type of jobs it provides to its volunteers. Do volunteers play a key role to the organization’s success?

- If you are asked to donate to a charity, don’t make an offering until you can read the organization’s brochures and check out their balance sheet, fundraising practices and hosted events.

- If a solicitor for a charity shows up at your doorstep, ask if he is a volunteer or if he is being compensated for the activity. Ask him how much of the amount that you donate will be used for charity services and how much will be allocated for purposes of administration.

- You can obtain further scoop about an organization by contacting certain watchdog organizations. Two organizations that can provide you with information are the American Institute of Philanthropy and the Council of Better Business Bureaus Foundation.

- Don’t deal with a non-profit or charity that cannot provide confirmation of their contact phone, address, and legal name. They should show written proof that they operate under an exempt status as well.

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