Smart Donation

Smart Donation

Charities can use all the help they can get during the pandemic. If you want to make a donation, here are some ways to vet the organization before handing over your contributions.

Pick Your Cause

In order to get the most out of your donations, you should first think about your goals. As US News reports, consider what causes move you the most. Once you have some ideas in mind, search for charities that address those issues. Then, using that list, you’ll narrow down your choices based on the following steps.

1. Review the 990. Nonprofits must file a Form 990 with the IRS. This document provides vital information about how the charity handles its finances and its board of directors. One way to tell if a charity is being led with the cause in mind is to check the Form 990’s list of board members to see if they are independent or not. If the board members aren’t listed as independent, they might have a conflict of interest that could get in the way of the charity’s mission.

2. Check for Transparency. Use Charity Navigator to check the organization’s transparency. The more open a charity is about everything that happens behind its doors, the better.

3. Notice the Numbers. Study the organization’s annual report to see how it allocates funds. Most experts say that a charity should be using at least 70 percent of its revenue on its programs. For a great example of this, Feeding America funnels a whopping 98 percent of its revenue toward its programs.

4. Consider the Results. Once you make a donation, check back regularly on the program to see how it is progressing toward its goals. If you don’t feel like your donations are working out how you’d like, try another charity.

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