4 Tips for Verifying Charitable Organizations

Charity is a long-held staple in financial circles. While charitable donations do provide some tax incentives, most people give money because they believe in a cause. 

Unfortunately, not all charities are on the up and up. Some organizations are dubious, and others are not well managed. Before you donate your hard-earned money, you should do your due diligence. 

While it might sound challenging to investigate the worthiness of a charity, it is not as difficult as it sounds. Donating money is admirable, but how would you feel to find out your money is not going where you think it is? There are several straightforward practices to ensure you are making sound charitable donations.

1. Research Prospective Charities

Before you write a check, hop online and do some digging. Established organizations, especially national ones, should have a website. The website should have a donation page. If there is no donation page, think twice about giving money. While a poor website or nonexistent one doesn't automatically mean an organization is not trustworthy, it points to a lack of common sense and poor management.

Additionally, you want to review the history of the charity. Any reputable charity should show some transparency over how donations are distributed. If the nonprofit seems secretive, you are better off finding another organization to give to. You can delve into the history of different nonprofits using sites like Charity Navigator or GuideStar.

2. Limit Your Giving

Between social media and fundraising websites, there is no shortage of giving options. Still, you need to be careful and frugal. While giving to every cause that crosses your monitor or phone screen is tempting, your money is better focused on a select few organizations or causes.

You can give a few dollars to a couple of hundred charities, but is that really making the impact you want. It is better to research a few charities that stand out and focus your giving on them. When you limit your focus, you will probably feel more passionate about the causes.

Passionate giving is what leads to fulfillment. Many people become so involved in the charities they give to that they become volunteers or employees, having direct influence over how funds are used.

3. Donate Directly To the Charity

Sites like GoFundMe have gained a lot of notoriety over the last several years. While many of the causes on the platform are admirable, there is room for fraud and misuse of funds. 

When you want to donate to a cause, find a licensed and recognized charity to receive your donation. Cut out the intermediaries. Legitimate charities are federally recognized. People and organizations that use secondary platforms are not legally operated as charities, meaning they are not held to the same accountability standards.

4. Donate Locally

There is nothing wrong with donating to national charities. Still, local charities likely have more of a need than larger organizations. Additionally, local organizations have a direct connection and impact on the community.

If you are looking to make a difference close to home, select organizations that operate at a state and local level. Local charities also provide the opportunity to volunteer and be a part of the change you want to see.

Charitable donations are admirable, and everyone that can give should. Still, you want to do your homework and ensure your money makes the difference you expect.

How do you verify organization before giving? Leave a comment below.