When it’s time for the holidays, many people start thinking about what they’re going to donate to charity. Something about the holidays brings out the charitable giving bug in people! You’ve likely seen numerous holiday charity collection plates outside of local stores. However, you might be wondering what the best charity is to donate to around the holidays.
Today, we’re looking at the signs of a good charity to help you narrow down which ones will put your money to the best use.
Check Tax Exemption Status
It’s not enough just to hear that an organization plans to use funds in a charitable manner. There are, sadly, scammers out there who use the term “charity” loosely when they don’t plan to actually use the money for a good cause. Thankfully, there are ways to tell if this is the case.
Of course, the first thing you want to do is make sure that a charity is actually functioning as a nonprofit charitable organization. Look up the charity in question and check their tax exemption status with the IRS. If they’re a legitimate charity, the IRS will have them filed as such and they’ll be exempt to taxes.
Charities with Long Histories
If a charity has a long-running history, you can usually rest assured that your money will go to good use with them. The Humane League, Doctors Without Borders and St. Jude Hospital, for instance, are examples of long-running charitable organizations that are popular for donations.
If a charity seems to be brand-new and there isn’t much information on them, then you might consider doing more research before donating. However, if you’ve heard about a charity and a cursory investigation shows you that they’re a long-running, respectable organization, you can feel confident donating to them.
A good charity you can trust will be fully open and transparent with their finances. There’s no reason for a legitimate charitable organization to be tight-lipped about how much money they’re bringing in and what that money is being used for. An organization that sidesteps questions about their finances is either for-profit or a scam, or perhaps both.
A charitable organization with tax-exempt status is actually legally required to be financially transparent. It’s critical that both employees and donors have trust in a charitable organization, so this is a step that organizations should take even when it’s not required by law.
Most importantly, make sure you’re giving to an organization that shares your values and passions. These, of course, are up to you to determine.