How Charitable is Your Charity?
The holidays are a time of giving: when Hoosiers open their hearts and their wallets to those in need. But sometimes finding a worthy cause can be a challenge. How do you find a charity that ensures your donation makes the most impact?
There are questions you should ask before making a donation to make sure it's being put to good use. CharityNavigator.org (link) is a website that rates nearly 6,000 of the largest charities across America. "We have a team of analysts doing all that work and they wrap up all their research into a zero to four star rating, to make it very easy for donors to quickly determine which charities deserve their support," says Sandra Miniutti, the VP of Marketing for Charity Navigator.
Charity Navigator offers a wealth of information to potential donors, including a list of questions you should ask before giving, tips on how to avoid being scammed, and the tax benefits of donating to a charity. The goal of Charity Navigator is to compile rating of more than 10 thousand charities across the country. "Just because an organization is a charity doesn't mean it's a good place for your money. It's a little bit like the wild west out there," Miniutti says. "There are more than 1 million charities. Use a site like Charity Navigator to check out the charities financial performance, their commitment to being accountable and transparent before you make that donation."
Miniutti also recommends finding a good charity on your own, rather than donating to one that uses phone calls or letters to solicit donations. "Don't be afraid to say no, especially when you get that phone call. Typically those are for-profit telemarketers calling and they may keep up to 95 cents of every dollar you give, so do your research and give directly to a great charity."