In the United States alone there are over two million nonprofit organizations, and their causes run the gamut. From animal rights to cancer research to education, it’s difficult not to want to donate. Unfortunately, before you go handing out money to any organization you want to support, you have to do a bit of research.
In fact, there are many precautions and follow-ups you should take before donating to any charity. Here are a few tips for the next time you’re looking into doing so.
Find Out Where the Money Goes
If you’re handing over your hard-earned money, you have the right to know exactly where it will end up. The sad truth is that you simply can’t take a charity’s word for it when they say whom they work for or are affiliated with. Run a quick Google search and find out what hospital, individual, organization, etc. that they give the money to and ensure that none of it is “for profit.” That way, you can have the peace of mind of knowing for sure that you helped out.
Don’t Be Pressured!
The causes of most charities pull at the heart-strings. They’re always for something tragic – such as for the victims of the Batman shooting in Colorado, or for children with life-terminating diseases – and you’ll want to help as much as you can. But the simple truth is that everybody can’t help everybody, so don’t let guilt – or even a representative – pressure you into donating if you aren’t comfortable doing so.
Keep a Paper Trail
It’s best not to donate in cash – rather, do so via check or online payment. If, for some reason, you should end up accidentally donating to an illegitimate charity, you might be able to get your money back. Additionally, some charities are tax-deductible, and keeping receipts will help you to cash in on that.
Beware of Charity Names
A company – including a charity – can trademark a name that has nothing to do with what the organization stands for whatsoever. Make sure you’re donating to the right charity – sometimes, scam charities will use names that sound remarkably similar to large, reputable charities to play off of the consumer’s trust. Other times, the name may simply be misleading. Ensure that you’re donating to the organization that you wish to donate to!
Find and Stick With Good Charities
If you do your research and learn that you like how the organization is run and support the cause, consider donating to them frequently or in a large sum. All charities (and the people or organizations they are supporting) could always use money, and it is a commendable thing to put a lot of work into authenticating and validating yourself as a nonprofit organization. Therefore, the ones that have should most certainly be rewarded.
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