It’s never been easier to give money to charity. In fact, it’s so easy you don’t have to
do anything in some cases. Simply purchase an everyday item through Amazon
Smile and a portion of the proceeds will be automatically donated to the charity of
But this is where the difficulty comes in. How do you choose the right charity? A
charity that effectively spends its donations and one that works for a cause you
support? All it takes is a little bit of research.
Whether you’re giving through automatic paycheck deductions, checks or by
purchasing certain goods and services, it makes sense to want to find a charity that’s
going to spend your money wisely. And while nonprofit employees certainly deserve
compensation, it’s important to select a charity that provides a reasonable level of
compensation—not exorbitant. Likewise, it’s important to review the charity’s other
expenses and overhead.
Most of us, unless we’ve had a personal experience with a specific disease or
condition, only think of the charity work we want to support in general terms. We
might think we want to support a charity that helps children or one that helps
animals—but we really need to go deeper. Children’s charities run the gamut, from
those that make dreams come true for the terminally ill to those that provide food to
hungry children to those that provide educational resources to the disadvantaged.
An animal charity may focus on finding homes for abandoned pets, providing funds
to help pet owners afford important medical procedures, or spaying and neutering
Help Selecting Your Charity
Only you can decide what functions you want your charity to fulfill. But when it
comes to looking at how charities spend their money, there are sites that can help
you get IRS and spending data on charities before you commit. Two of the most
popular are Charity Navigator and GuideStar. They can help you evaluate the
charity’s financial health and effectiveness in using contributions.