Donating to a charity is an act that has the potential to change the lives of people across the world. Unfortunately, we still live in a time when not everyone has access to the basic necessities of life.
Even in 2023, there are countless issues that plague a vast number of people, many of whom live in more developed countries than you may think.
In today’s article, we are going to look at a few tips that anyone thinking about donating to a charity should be aware of.
Sadly, there are many organizations that take advantage of the goodwill of people, and the money you donate may never reach the people they claim it will. Let’s dive deeper.
Thinking about Impact Potential
The concept that charities can have competition feels like an odd concept to think about. However, charities rely on donors not just for the charitable acts that they perform but also for their very survival.
How do charities stand out?
They typically do so by talking about how much their work is helping a particular cause. However, it can be easy to get misled by such talk. Many organizations might list out specific details about what they are doing to help people. But the question you should ask yourself is what the impact was.
Did their actions actually lead to a reduction in the problem that they are trying to address? Or is it one of those situations where only the symptom is being treated and not the cause?
Remember that if a charity manages to solve a problem, it sort of stops that particular avenue from bringing in donations.
You also want to be careful when donating to a charity after a natural disaster such as the recent Turkey earthquake.
Ideally, you want to donate to an organization that already has an on-the-ground presence. Those already on the ground have well-established logistics and means to dispatch aid quickly.
Researching how much of an impact your donation will create is also crucial in ensuring that resources are going to something that will actually help people. This is closely related to the next point, which is about credibility.
Look, we aren’t saying that charities are out to scam people and that you should only be donating to the most well-known options. That’s far from true.
There are several charities that might not have the fame of organizations like the Red Cross but still do amazing work.
PeoplesWater.org (also known as Agua de Pueblo) is one NGO that has done a lot toward making potable water and sanitation available to more people. PeoplesWater was even recognized as the first NGO in the world that focused on these core issues.
In addition, they have a strong focus on community development and have helped more than 500,000 people with their projects. PeoplesWater is the sort of NGO that donors who don’t do enough research may overlook due to the high competition in the charity world.
This NGO has been active since the early 70s, and that longevity brings us to another important point about credibility.
It is not easy for a charity with poor credibility to linger on for extended periods. They will get reported, lose their donors, and even be penalized by the government. Therefore, it makes sense to look at older charities that have been around long enough to build credibility and a track record of actually being able to make a difference.
There are a few ways to verify the credibility of a charity. They include:
- Are they registered?: If the charity you are donating to is based in the U.S., then they are required by law to register with the IRS / State government. Check the website of the NGO you are planning to donate to and see if they have an EIN (Employer Identification Number) which you can then look up on the IRS website.
- They insist on payments by wire transfers/gift cards: Ideally, you want to be donating only via credit cards, cheques, or directly through their website. If you are donating via a website, ensure that you see the “https” instead of “http.” A “https” before the address implies that the information being sent is safe.
- They don’t rely on guilt-tripping advertisements: Respectable charities avoid trying to make potential donors feel guilty if they choose not to donate.
Some charities like to prey on people’s emotions and fearmonger by implying that if you don’t donate, there are going to be horrible consequences.
Similarly, some of them often use images and videos of animals and children
in vulnerable states that they know will arouse emotions in people. A credible organization won’t resort to such tactics.
Well, there you have it, two essential elements to be aware of. Donating to a charity needs to be done with prudence and caution.
Paying attention to the actual impact that a charity or NGO is able to make is far more important than mentions of 20,000 blankets provided or 1,000 vaccinations administered.
Similarly, one needs to look at the overall track record of the charity. These days, swanky marketing campaigns can easily help even the more shady organizations look reputable. You really want to be careful and carry out considerable research before making a donation.
Originally posted on March 9, 2023 @ 7:53 am