Writing a check is easy and fast. So is clicking a few buttons on a website, entering your info and clicking “send.” Maybe it’s even easier to respond to an email.
With yearly donations to charitable causes on the rise throughout the country in the recent past, many of us are eager to continue the trend. And while giving is an incredibly noble cause, as I’ve outlined in the past, not all charities meld with everyone’s ideals and the issues they care about most. Not only do some charities donate lower percentages of the funds they receive towards the actual cause–it’s also extremely important to be wary of scams and fraudulent if you make the decision to donate money in the near future.
Look at the Mission & Vision of the Organization
The mission and vision statements of an organization can tell you a lot about what it stands for, why it does what it does, and what its end goals are. Some of what this entails should be obvious–if you’re passionate about helping children get a better education, find a charity that focuses on that. If you’re passionate about women empowerment then find a charity that includes empowering women as one of its primary goals.
However the mission and vision statements can also tell you more about an organization than just that. They tell you the passions and aspirations of that business–that is, who they want to become and their ambitions.
Don’t Give Via Email–Only an Official Site
Responding to emails, particularly unsolicited emails, is best practice if you’re looking to get your bank account emptied into the hands of a scam artist. It’s a common tactic that often preys on those who are not as tech-savvy as the rest of us, including the elderly. Don’t give out your credit card or bank account information over email or the phone, these could easily be scam artists trying to make a quick buck off of a charitable individual. Instead, make sure you’re visiting the official site of a charity before you input any sort of personal or financial information to insure your money is going to the right hands.
Do Some Googling Yourself
If you’ve decided on a charity that aligns with the causes of those who you feel you want to help, and you’ve on their official site, pause for a moment and do a little bit of research. Looking up a nonprofit on a site like Charity Navigator or Charity Watch is a great way of determining not just the legitimacy of an organization, but their practices below surface-level, including salaries of executives, percentages donated to programming and much more. It’s a great way to ensure your money is going to the right cause without doing strenuous and tedious research.
None of this should discourage anyone from giving their money to charity. If you’re afraid of your money going to the wrong places, though, consider giving your time and/or your resources towards the cause! It’s a great way to make a real effort in changing your community for the better.