Billions of dollars are donated each year to worthy causes with approximately 79% of charitable donations coming from individuals. With all the requests for donations around this time of year, how do you know where your donation will do the most good?
"Whatever donation you make whether it's $10, 20 or more, you want it to go to a reputable charity," said Executive Director and CEO of the Better Business Bureau for the Texas Panhandle, Janna Kiehl. "You want it to be a charity that's out there doing good for the community."
Kiehl says she sees it far too often, people sending money off to bogus organizations.
"How would you know if something fraudulent?," said Kiehl. "That's why those read flags are really important and that's why it's important to check those charities and know whether or not they meet those standards."
Kiehl recommends paying close attention to the charity's name because a lot of them sound a like.
"The bad guys like to capitalize on the names of the good charities," said Kiehl. "If someone also suggest that they go to your house and pick of the check right away, they can't wait for the donation. That's a red flag."
You also want to make sure you ask the specifics, such as how the organization is helping the community.
"You should ask how much of your donation will go directly to the cause," said Kiehl. "That's why we always say give with your head as well as your heart so you can do your research ahead of time."
Go to the experts to evaluate a charity at bbb.org. BBB evaluates charities against the Standards for Charitable Accountability. Full, detailed reports are available on most local and national charities. Verify that your charity of choice is trustworthy and transparent.
Give with your heart as well as your head. Be aware some charities use sound alike names. Look at the name carefully and make sure you are giving to the charity you want to support.
Be wary of claims that 100 percent of donations will go to the cause. Despite what an organization might claim, charities have fund raising and administrative costs.
Don’t give in to pressure to give on the spot. Your donation will be accepted when you’re ready to give.
Never write a check out to an individual and don’t succumb to requests to have a ‘runner’ pick up a check or cash donation at your home.