The tragedy in Haiti has our attention nowadays. Charitable organizations are rising to the occasion to fulfill the needs of the hundreds of thousands displaced by the recent earthquake.
Not that long ago, the residents of New Orleans experienced devastation when Katrina slammed into their city in 2005. Once again, individuals and businesses pooled their resources to help the historic city and its people.
Americans helping Americans.
However, not every charity is honorable in its efforts. Indeed, when tragedy strikes, your emotions are manhandled by unseemly characters trolling the Internet and your mailbox for a quick dollar all in the name of “charity.” Their commercials are compelling, the images pull at our heartstrings (and purse strings,) the need is immediate, and we are quick to respond.
But just where is your money going? Are you sure it is going to the people in need, or is it diverted to a destination on the other side of the world? Worse yet, is your money going straight into the pockets of a con artist and his or her partners in crime?
Take a couple of minutes before you send money and check out your charity!
Charity Navigator is a reputable organization that keeps its fingers on the pulse of all other non-profits. This American independent charity evaluator, works to advance a more efficient and responsive philanthropic marketplace by evaluating the financial health of over 5,400 of America’s largest charities.
Within the website you’ll find current events, charity ratings, blogs, top 10 lists, resources and even the 2009 CEO Compensation Survey. And, you can search for your charity’s rating and how it compares to similar organizations.
10 Best Practices of a Savvy Donor
1) Be proactive in your donation. Instead of a knee-jerk reaction, identify which charities are most important to you.
2) Don’t give money over the phone. If you like the pitch, take information and investigate the charity online and give DIRECTLY to the charity.
3) Be careful of sound-alike charity names.
4) Confirm an organization’s 501(c) 3 status.
5) Check the charity’s commitment to donor’s rights.
6) Obtain copies of the organization’s financial records.
7) Review the compensation of the charity’s executives.
8) Talk with a representative about the programs and goals.
9) Concentrate your giving instead of spreading it between many organizations.
10) Make a long-term commitment.