Choosing a charity you can trust is in some ways easier today than it ever was before. The only struggle is that there are so many charities to choose from. You can get more information today than you could before because of the Internet. However, you might also find that the more information you get, the more potential charities you have to add to your list.
Charity Navigator Due Diligence #1-Narrow Your Interests
The very first thing you should do is narrow down the area you are interested in contributing to. There are literally millions of charities you can donate to. By narrowing your interests you at least know that you are supporting a cause you believe in. Now you just have to find the specific charity that serves that one cause. Just don’t be afraid to think outside the box. For example, you might be interested in supporting people in poverty, but not interested in the electric company. If the electric company has a program to help people in poverty pay their bills, that still might be the best charity for you.
Charity Navigator Due Diligence #2-Gather a List of Companies
Do some research to learn which charities support your cause. Make a list and note the details next to the list as you learn them. Don’t worry too much about the contact details yet until you learn more about the company itself. Otherwise you are going to spend a lot of time writing down contact information for charities you never plan to contact.
Charity Navigator Due Diligence #3-Prioritize
List your priorities in order from highest to lowest. This will help you stay organized as you are choosing a charity you can trust. Do you want the money to stay in a certain area? Do you prefer to help one particular demographic? Will you avoid charities based on who they are associated with? Consult your list as you investigate the charities. On your list of charities to consider, note which priorities they meet.
Charity Navigator Due Diligence #4-Investigate
Get online and research your charities. Look for reviews. Consult the BBB. Combine the charity name with terms like “fraud” and “investigation” to learn if they have been in the news for being fraudulent. You can even use your social media to ask other people about specific charities or even to get the names of charities associate with specific causes.
Charity Navigator Due Diligence #5-Where Does the Money Go?
Sadly, there are plenty of charities who are run to make profits themselves instead of helping people. It’s up to you to set the standard that you are willing to work with. If the majority of the funds don’t actually serve the group you are trying to help you are going to have to decide if that’s the best charity for you. There are always overhead costs, but in some cases the costs are simply inflated salarie
As you are choosing a charity you can trust, be careful about individual campaigns. Many people have been running scams through cloud funding sites. They sometimes outright lie or exaggerate their position in order to get money from other people. If you are unsure whether to believe them or not, do your research. Don’t offer money to a charity unless you are 100% certain it is the one you can trust.