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Researching charities before you donate can give you the peace of mind you’re looking for
posted in: Financial Wellness
by Christy McFarland

Would you like to donate to the (fill in the blank)?

“There’s not enough hours in the day.”

Have you ever found yourself saying that to yourself? We’re stretched thin and pulled a million different directions. The same is true when it comes to donations and being pressured into giving.

Maybe you truly want to give but are so buried in college loans you feel like people should be donating to you. Well, consider this. Donating your time is still an honorable way to give back.

If you’re ready to donate monetarily, but you want to make sure the charity is (a) legit and (b) something you’re passionate about, be sure to research before you give.

Here’s what you should look for:

  • How much the organization is spending overhead. That just means, find out how much they’re spending on day-to-day business expenses.
  • Where do the funds go? See how much of the organization’s funds are spent on their programs and services.       
  • Where the organization allocates its money (Hint: Most nonprofits are required to make their IRS Form 990 public. GuideStar is a good start.)

Where should you look?

  • The Better Business Bureau - they offer sites that examine organization’s finances. Check out: Wise Giving AllianceCharity Navigator, and Charity Watch.
  • Don’t be afraid to call. Talking to charities directly is a good indication of the organization’s character. If they don’t want to give you the time of day or explain where your donation will be going, consider that a red flag.

Researching before you donate can help bring a certain level of peace of mind knowing your money is going to make an impact.

Find something you’re passionate about. Do your research. Be proud of your donation.

Tell us about your favorite non-profit in the comment thread below! 

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