Scoping out potential charities to which you might want to contribute? It can be hard to narrow down which charities are most deserving, but when there is one potential organization one has their eye on, it’s time to ask these questions.
Do you really care about the beneficiaries?
The very first aspect to consider about a charity is if you are truly behind the cause. If you give to a certain charity just because it’s popular, someone made a really hard sell on you, or it feels like “the right thing to do,” you may end up regretting your decision. You can narrow down your search by making a list of what issues you actually care deeply about then searching for charities that have mission statements that directly pertain to that topic. Also be sure the charities that then end up on the short list aren’t spread too thin across too many different subject areas and actually have a targeted focus on something that is of special interest.
Is the organization transparent in its goals and workings?
The ability to clearly show its inner workings and functions is integral to a good charity, says Fielding Charities. This sort of transparency and validity cannot be understated. Again, check out an organization’s mission statement. Is it clear? Concise? Agreeable? Beyond this, ensure that the group is data-driven and relies on methodologically sound research to measure its goals and its trajectory toward those goals. There are far too many “set it and forget it” type organizations who don’t properly measure or manage themselves, and suffer greatly because if it.
Are the charity’s overhead costs reasonable?
Look into the financials of the charity that catches your eye. One important publicly available document is Form 990, which details an organization’s tax-exempt, non-profit status. From Form 990, you’ll find a charity’s income, how it spends that income, the salaries of the organization’s top executives, and many other pieces of useful information that could make or break an opinion of it.
In summary, there are so many charities out there that it can be bewildering to try to narrow it down. But with the above steps, you can go from overflowing with information to making a formal and organized list that you’ll be proud you used later.