Tips Before Donating Your Hard-Earned Dollars
There are many people who would like to make a charitable contribution for a cause that is important to them. It can be quite difficult to decide what charity to choose, however. Following are some Tips Before Donating Your Hard-Earned Dollars:
- Do not feel compelled to give because you received a gift. Just because you received some mailing labels, cards or an umbrella, that doesn’t mean you’re required to reciprocate with a donation. Be especially wary of sweepstakes that require a contribution to enter. Again, a reputable charity doesn’t need to employ such inefficient and deceptive fundraising tactics.
- Be careful of impostors and sound alike names. Scam artists often use sound-alike names to trick you into thinking they represent a legitimate charity. Some are even non-existent. They should be charged with “Felony Theft by Deception and False Impersonation of Charitable Organization”.
- Hang up the phone. Ask the fundraiser to send you written information about the charity they represent, hang up the phone and do some research on your own. Once you feel comfortable with the charity, send the organization a check directly in the mail, thus ensuring 100% of your gift goes to the charity and not the for-profit fundraiser.
- Make sure that your donation is tax-deductible. Before giving a donation to any organization, make sure it is a 501(c)(3) charity. That means the group has filed paperwork with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), registering it as a U.S. nonprofit and enabling its contributors to take a tax-deduction for their gifts. A quick way to confirm the organization’s status is to check with us. All the charities evaluated by Charity Navigator are 501 (c) (3) entities.
- Research the charity before you give. Take a look at the organization’s finances. Make sure it is able to direct at least 75% of its budget on the programs and services it exists to provide. With a million nonprofits in America, you should have no problem finding one that matches your philanthropic interests and will put your donation to good use.
- Send your donation directly to the charity. Never divulge your personal or credit card information to those initiating contact. Once you’ve done your research, send your contribution directly to the charity you wish to support. Don’t send cash as it can be lost or stolen. Also, you’ll want to have paid by check or credit card so you have a receipt of your donation when it comes time to take the tax-deduction.
- Review Executive Compensation and total salaries, wages and benefits. You should know if your hard-earned dollars are just making it possible for charity executives to live the high life using your donations for themselves instead of the mission you think you are supporting. Don’t be fooled when you are told it is necessary to pay excessive wages to get the best leaders. The best people are those who believe passionately in the cause. You can be sure that they will do the most good with the least amount of waste. Just take a look at the Salvation Army and you will see one of the best “people” charities, and take a look at Paws and Claws Society to see a charity that is really dedicated to helping animals.