How Do You Know If a Non-Profit Charity Is Legit?
I will be the first to admit that I am cynical at times. In almost 16 years of radio, I have come across non-profits of all kinds. Some are legitimate non-profit Charities with a mission. Some are just about raising the money, which begs the question –is this benefiting the organizers of the non-profits or truly being put into the charity? Then amongst legit non-profits you have the carnival callers selling snake oil.
I think that it is important to be prudent and prayerful when deciding where to allocate God’s money. Today, more than ever, a good many non-profit charities are struggling with a decline in giving. A dear friend of mine sent some great information to consider when evaluating a non-profit. *Please know that these are not mine and unfortunately I cannot find the source to properly give the author credit.*
Real charities will always be happy to take your money a couple days or even a couple weeks after they first make contact with you, so take time to do your research. High pressure appeals that claim a need is "urgent" are often times a warning sign.
Take time to ask the following questions before you donate:
What is the charity's exact name? Scam artists often use names that sound familiar to reputable charitable organizations in order to solicit donations.
Is the charity registered with the Secretary of State's Office? If so, what is their registration number?
Does the charity operate nationally? If so, what is the address of its national offices?
Does it operate locally or have a local center? If so, what is the address of its local office?
How much of my donation will go to charitable activities?
How much of my donation will go to administrative expenses?
Is the call being made by a professional solicitor? If so, what percent of the donation will they receive and are they registered with the Secretary of State’s Office? What is their registration number?
Is my donation tax deductible, i.e. can I deduct it from my own federal income tax return?
Ask to be sent financial statements from the organization to determine who will benefit from your donation.
If you are purchasing a product that supports a charitable organization, always ask what percentage of the amount you spend will actually support the charity. If it is a product you do not want or need, you might be able to better help the charity by donating directly.
Search the charity online through a search engine. Check for complaints filed by other consumers.
Contact your local Better Business Bureau to see if there are any complaints about the charity or search for the charity online at http://bbb.org/charity.
That is the check list for non-profit charities. What about ministries and churches? Let's cover that tomorrow.