Charitable giving is an essential part of society, as it allows people to express a desire to help others in need. However, with so many different charities and causes calling out for support, it can be difficult to know which are the most deserving. That’s why it’s so important that donors can trust that their money is going where they intend – and not into the pockets of greedy executives or directors. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. There have been many cases of charities being wasteful with their funds or even using them for personal gain rather than for their stated purpose. There are several things you can do to make sure your charitable donations are going where you intend and that your hard-earned money is being used responsibly. Here are some useful tips on how you can find out where your charity money goes:
Check the Charity’s Audited Financial Statements
Before you donate to a charity, you’ll want to make sure its financial reports are legitimate and accurate. Unfortunately, it’s easy for charities to make false or misleading claims about their finances, so it’s important to use an auditing process that you can trust. Your best bet is to look for a charity that has been audited by a third-party auditor. This auditor must be completely independent of the charity itself so that there is no chance of a conflict of interest. You can find out if a charity’s financials are legitimate by checking them against the Financial Review Standards issued by the American Institute of Philanthropy (AIP). This organization evaluates the financial transparency of over 100,000 charities in the United States to ensure that donors can trust their finances.
Ask Where Your Money Will Be Used
When you donate to a charity, you’ll want to make sure that your money is being used in the way you intend. Most charities will have a stated purpose for which they are raising funds, so it’s important to ask where your money will be used. Donors should also be on the lookout for charities that are vague with their spending. Charities that don’t give any details on how they will use donations are likely being misleading and/or unproductive in their spending. Donors should also ask charities if they have any plans to diversify their spending. While it’s great that charities are focused on a particular cause, donors should be wary of charities that are becoming too dependent on one particular source of funding.
Check the Charity is Registered
Registered charities have legal requirements that they must meet to maintain their registration. This means that registered charities are more likely to be legitimate organizations that have valid causes. If you’re unsure whether or not a charity is registered, you can check their website or contact the organization directly to ask. If the charity isn’t registered or doesn’t have any plans to register shortly, you should be wary about donating your money to them.
Check the Charity is Accredited
Accreditation is a voluntary certification system used by charities to demonstrate that they consistently meet a certain set of standards. Different types of charitable organizations will be able to obtain accreditation in different ways, depending on the specific requirements of each accrediting body. For example, charitable organizations that focus on emergency relief or disaster relief will be able to obtain accreditation from the American National Red Cross. However, an organization that focuses on providing healthcare to low-income individuals might be able to obtain accreditation from the Joint Commission.
Ask About a Charity’s Overhead Costs
One of the most common criticisms of charities is that they are wasteful with their spending and use too much of their funds on overhead costs. Donors should be careful to avoid falling for this trap, as it’s important to know where your money is going. To avoid charities with high overhead costs, it’s a good idea to check out the Charity Navigator website. You can use this website to research a charity’s financials and spending. It also allows you to quickly check out the best charities in your state or city.
Charity is an essential part of society and is something we should all be involved in some way. However, when it comes to donating, donors must know where their money is going. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to ensure that you are donating to a legitimate and trustworthy charity. Check out the Charity Navigator website, check a charity’s financial reports, and ask where your money will be used and where it will be going. When you use these tips, you can be sure that your money is going to a legitimate charity that will put it to good use.