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Choosing Your Charity

FYL 8.11.16

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

your choice.

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.

Charity Spending

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.

Charity Purpose

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

area strays.

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.

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