How to Find a Reputable Charity to Donate To

How to Find a Reputable Charity to Donate To

( – Charitable giving is an honorable endeavor. Unfortunately, determining which organizations can be trusted to use your hard-earned cash responsibly isn’t always easy. Fundraising scams are all too common, and even legitimate charities may mishandle cash or pocket the bulk of donations for “administration fees.”

You want to give back, but you don’t want to waste your money, either. Great news: there are many ways to ensure you choose a worthwhile charitable organization. Use the steps in this simple guide to figure out who really deserves your money.

Steps to Research a Charity

It helps to use a multi-step research process when you want to know more about a charity. Don’t rely on a single web page or site to tell you what you need to know. Check multiple sources to find out everything you can.

The Federal Trade Commission suggests starting with a basic internet search for the charity to see what comes up. You may find helpful news stories and even donor reviews. You can then look at the organization’s website, checking for information on what it does and how it works.

Next, check with agencies and organizations that provide oversight over charities, such as your state charity regulator or charity watchdog groups. A few of the most common and reliable examples include:

These organizations provide access to much-needed details, such as how charities disperse donations and whether or not they’re transparent about expenses. The BBB Wise Giving Alliance also shares data on received complaints, should any exist.

What to Watch For

When researching a charity, you want to see a professional image and transparency about operations. You should not have to guess what the charity does or how it uses the money it collects from donors.

You also want to see an organization with a good track record. A history of complaints about financial management, leadership, or difficulty ending donations may be a red flag.

Other reasons to be wary include:

  • Incomplete financial records
  • Aggressive fundraising tactics
  • Refusal to accept non-cash donations
  • No clear mission statement
  • Refusal to answer basic questions

Your goal when giving to charity is for the greatest percentage of your money to go to the actual cause. You should expect a charity to use your money wisely, but there are so many that don’t live up to that standard. It never hurts to do proper due diligence to weed out the less-than-honorable organizations.

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