Get the facts: How to choose the charity you want to help

Submitted by Taylor Hoffard on March 9, 2012 – 3:01 pmNo Comment

When choosing a charity to donate time or money to, it is important to know what you are getting into and make sure it is a legitimate organization.

When browsing for charities, be sure to clarify specific values. Agreeing with what the organization stands for plays a huge role into the decision; figure out what beliefs, values and morals stand out. Donating to an organization, whether it is time or money, is not worth going against what you believe in. Typically, when donating to a charity, it is best to choose a charity that is close to your heart.

Focus on your mission when you are picking a place to volunteer or donate. Eliminate organizations that don’t meet specific criteria; it is okay to be picky during this process. After all, donating and volunteering for an organization should be a pleasant experience, and something to treasure.

Identify any preferences you may have and ask what is important to you. If cancer research is important to you, the American Cancer Society would be an ideal organization. If taking care of premature babies is what hits close to home, The March of Dimes might be your best bet.

Don’t be afraid to get the cold, hard facts from organizations. Finding out how much they receive annually and how many people they help may play a part in your decision. Avoid charities that won’t share information with you or pressure you to donate. If a charity won’t share information, it’s most likely a scam. Trusting your instincts is a key component in this process. Comparing charities is completely normal; when comparing, be sure to keep in mind what charity best fits the goal you wish to achieve in donating.

Most importantly, be sure to verify that the organization is legitimate. Give to groups you already know, that way there isn’t any confusion. Make sure the charity is the one you believed to be: the most popular charity scams use names that sound like popular charities to trick people into donating.

Protect yourself. Don’t give out credit card or other personal information, but be sure to let the organization know what skills you have. Consider your schedule: Volunteering and donating is a great deed, but be sure not to over schedule and lose track of your priorities. Importantly, always know that you are making a difference.

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